A maintenance worker for a wealthy businessman said a pistol was pointed at him and fired as he was forced to drive his employer's truck and trailer from Mt Maunganui to Rotorua.
The 20-year-old, whose identity is suppressed, told a jury in the High Court at Rotorua on Tuesday the pistol was fired by an "older dude" after a younger one had loaded it wearing black latex gloves.
The shot had gone out the truck's window.
When the shot fired he knew he was fighting for his life, he said.
This followed a beating and kicking he'd endured at the businessman's Mt Maunganui storage shed where he'd been cornered by four or five men, some wearing shorts with Head Hunters insignia on them.
He said while he was driving threats were made that "other stuff" would be done to him if he didn't reveal the whereabouts of the businessman's vehicle and answer questions about the man's firearms.
On trial at the High Court in Rotorua are: Jordan Alexander Christian, 21, David Peter Clark, 36, Stephen William Daly, 33, Benjamin Paul Dwyer, 28, Brent Anthony Gunning, 37, Liam John Kane, 24, Matthew John McDonnell, 45, Stacy Walton Dennis Paora, 29 and Sam Wiremu Rolleston 23.
They each pleaded not guilty to the total of 103 charges they face, either individually or with other accused, which include kidnapping the businessman and the witness, extortion and using firearms against them.
All are claimed to be involved with the Head Hunters gang.
The witness said he encountered the men at the storage shed which he was packing up on February 15 last year after an earlier break-in.
He told prosecutor Ngaroma Tahana he did work for the businessman on properties he owned in the Bay of Plenty and central North Island, regarding himself as being close to him.
As well as packing up the shed he'd been asked to fill drums with dried food.
Opening the Crown's case Ms Tahana said the businessman had intended to store this "back country" after it became known he'd had a tryst on board his launch with Dwyer's girlfriend.
While on board she'd been injured by a broken sex toy and was admitted to hospital. Ms Tahana branded what followed as revenge.
The 20-year-old, the first of the Crown's 116 witness, is giving evidence via audio visual link from outside the courtroom. - NZN