Police should name the officer who fatally shot a Hawke's Bay teenager last year, a barrister says.

Havelock North defence lawyer Peter Nee Harland said there was a "concerning" lack of accountability in a recent police investigation that found the officer who shot 19-year-old Lachan Kelly-Tumarae was justified in his actions.

The Flaxmere teenager died in hospital after being struck by four of 14 bullets fired during the standoff in Omahu on March 28.

Mr Nee Harland told Hawke's Bay Today that naming the officer could prevent police acting "like Wild Bill Hickock" again.


"I don't just want to leave this in police hands," Mr Nee Harland said.

Disclosing the identity would add transparency to the case and make police more accountable for their actions, he said.

Police Association president, Greg O'Connor, was quick to dismiss the suggestion. "We've found previously where officers are identified, particularly in the provinces, that they have been forced to move their families and move town."

The officer who fatally shot Steven Wallace in Waitara in April 2000, Senior Constable Keith Abbott, was an example, he said.

"That constable never got to sleep in his own bed again. It's [naming officers] an unacceptable risk for those who want to live and serve their communities."

Mr Nee Harland said the Omahu shooting highlighted a risk to many youths in Hawke's Bay.

"This profile [Mr Kelly Tumarae's] fits many kids in our community, many of whom are just naughty kids, or red-blooded teenagers showing off," Mr Nee Harland said.

"Notwithstanding that the boy was armed and clearly being an idiot, in my mind that does not justify blasting off 14 rounds. Sure only four hit him. But the intent seems pretty clear. Shoot to disable yes. Kill him no."

He claimed police needed to be more open about their protocols.

"Is there a distinction between shooting to kill, or shooting to maim? I'd like police to tell me what that is. They need to tell us what their procedures are."

The public's silence was risky, he said, and could be taken as quiet approval. "Spin does not substitute for restraint."

Mr O'Connor described the comments as "curmudgeonly".

"As a barrister he should have a little more faith in his own profession and wait until the findings of the IPCA [Independent Police Conduct Authority] report," Mr O'Connor said.

"As he will know the homicide investigation's decisions are arrived at in consultation with senior members of the Crown. The IPCA inquiry is headed by a district court judge - and the chief coroner is also a member of his profession. So I'm not sure what further oversight he feels is necessary.

"As a citizen he can remain warm in his bed at 2am in the morning. The officer didn't have that option. If he would just bother to wait he'd find out why there were 14 shots fired."

Last week the teenager's mother, Mere Tumarae, said she wasn't happy with the police findings.

She said she'd given police further questions as she feared they had "built up a story, maybe even a concocted one".

Eastern District Police declined to comment on the matter.

Findings from the IPCA and coroner were yet to be released.