Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Shorter sentence for accidentally killing brother dismissed

Alex Gideon was sentenced last September to two years and nine months in prison for the manslaughter of his brother. Photo / File
Alex Gideon was sentenced last September to two years and nine months in prison for the manslaughter of his brother. Photo / File

A Palmerston North man who accidentally killed his brother while posing for a photo with a gun has had his appeal for a shorter sentence dismissed.

Alex Gideon, now 21, was sentenced last September to two years and nine months in prison for the manslaughter of his brother, Tyrone, who died last May, aged 21.

The pair were posing for photos with a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun when the accident happened.

The gun, and the cartridges the brothers used to load the weapon before taking the pictures, belonged to a friend.

Alex Gideon appealed against the length of the jail term imposed in the High Court at Palmerston North by Justice David Collins, who said at the time: "Regardless of whether Tyrone knew the gun was loaded, he bears no responsibility for your actions when pointing the loaded gun at him with your fingers on the trigger.

"Whilst you have learned a very harsh lesson, the community as a whole needs to be aware that the reckless use of firearms is something that society and the courts must condemn."

Alex Gideon believed his brother's contribution to the incident should have been taken into account -- and therefore his sentence reduced.

In a decision released yesterday, the Court of Appeal acknowledged it did not agree with the comment made in the High Court that Tyrone bore no responsibility.

"In our view, that is an over-statement. Tyrone knew the gun was loaded and fully participated in what was obviously an inherently dangerous and reckless activity."

Despite that, the Court of Appeal said that the differences in views did not affect the correctness of the sentence.

"The appeal is accordingly dismissed and the sentence confirmed."

- NZ Herald

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