Shooting victim believes 'lack of money' led to charges being withdrawn

By Alecia Rousseau

The chargtes were laid after James Morton was in a maimai when he was hit in the face by pellets from a 12-gauge shotgun. Photo / File
The chargtes were laid after James Morton was in a maimai when he was hit in the face by pellets from a 12-gauge shotgun. Photo / File

A man alleged to have shot a fellow hunter has had charges withdrawn - to the disgust of the victim.

The defendant, who has interim name suppression, appeared in the Palmerston North District Court this morning, where a charge of careless use of a firearm causing bodily injury was withdrawn.

Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk said his office and reviewed the prosecution and decided there was insufficient evidence to continue and asked the court to discharge the defendant.

Judge Jim Large withdrew the charges and will hear a suppression application in June.

On May 7 last year, James Morton was in a maimai when he was hit in the face by two pellets from a 12-gauge shotgun.

His left eye had to be removed during surgery. The second pellet embedded itself in his right eye, and also had to be removed.

Morton had more than nine months' off work and has only been able to return part-time.

He said no-one could understand the significant trauma the shooting had caused him.

He did not support the charges being withdrawn and said he did not understand why there was insufficient evidence.

He believed it was because not enough money was available for expert witnesses.

He said he had emails and a recorded interview to support this theory.

"I don't get my day in court all because there's not enough money."

Morton asked to read a statement to the court during this morning's hearing, and although Vanderkolk asked Judge Large to consider the request, the judge said today's hearing was not the appropriate forum.

"It's not today, and it's not here."

- Manawatu Guardian

- NZ Herald

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