Stephanie is the Rotorua Daily Post's education and lifestyle reporter.

Live updates: Stop-go murder trial continues

Quinton Paul Winders. PHOTO/FILE
Quinton Paul Winders. PHOTO/FILE

Quinton Winders' lawyer has continued to grill police witnesses about their conduct during the two and a half year investigation into George Taiaroa's death.

Detective Steven Dunn was called today in the Rotorua High Court trial of Winders, 45, who is charged with the murder of the 65-year-old stop-go operator. It is the fourth week of the trial.

Mr Taiaroa was shot and killed at roadworks near Atiamuri 2013. The Crown claims a minor crash a week before the shooting was the catalyst for Winders returning to kill Mr Taiaroa.

Mr Dunn gave evidence on trying to return some property to Winders in June 2014.
The items were seized by police more than a year earlier during a search of Winders' Ohura address. The items were found across the road.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Temm suggested police went back to Winders' property to "trap him" into identifying the items as his own.

"No, I wouldn't say we were trying to trap him," Mr Dunn replied.

But Mr Temm persisted. "The reason you didn't caution him when you first made contact was because you wanted him to make admissions to you ... Up until then all you had was property found across the road ... Your opaque reasoning about having some property of his to view was not really letting him know why you were there."

Mr Dunn maintained proper procedures were followed, including reading Winders his rights . He said had Winders declined to talk to them, they would have left.

It was not the first time Mr Dunn wasquestioned by Mr Temm. Earlier in the trial Mr Dunn was scrutinised about his first interview with Winders, the photo montage he presented to a witness and his involvement in the search of Kieron O'Dwyer's Benneydale farm.

Constable Tony Andrews was also cross-examined by Mr Temm on his involvement in a questionnaire sent to the Taranaki Deer Farmers Association and the Deer Stalkers Club.

Mr Temm asked Mr Andrews if he remembered police issuing a public apology about the questionnaire which named Winders and asked members about rumours they had heard, whether any had been to his address and whether any had issues or run-ins with him.

Mr Andrews said he did not compile the questionnaire, his role was distributing it to the associations and collecting the answers.

Earlier Detective Andrew Livingstone was questioned about his dealings with Winders' father, Max Winders, including his arrest for careless use of a firearm on April 18, 2013.

Mr Temm suggested Mr Livingstone arrested Max Winders for the "sole purpose of putting pressure on the Winders family".

The charge related to a blanket-wrapped rifle found under Winders' parents' bed during a search . Max Winders was later granted diversion.

Mr Livingstone denied the arrest had anything to do with putting pressure on the family.
Mr Temm said the decision to arrest Max Winders came from the strategic management team overseeing the investigation, to which Mr Livingstone agreed.

Mr Temm also questioned him about allegedly accusing Max Winders of being the "mastermind" behind Mr Taiaroa's death.

Earlier this week Max Winders told the court the accusation was put to him during his first police interview on April 4, 2013.

Mr Livingstone denied accusing Max Winders of masterminding a murder.

Mr Temm also asked Mr Livingstone about an interview of a Taupo man with Mongrel Mob connections.

A dark coloured Jeep Cherokee was found at the man's address with what Mr Livingstone described as a "done it yourself" number plate.

Mr Livingstone confirmed police did not follow any lines of inquiry about the non-standard issue number plate.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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