The fatal shooting of a man in his Taupo home was an "accident", a defence counsel for one of the three men accused of his murder has told a court.
Scott John Henry, 48, was a drug dealer and was fatally shot in the chest when the three accused stormed his rural home demanding drugs and cash.
Whakapumautanga "Cookie" Clarke, 25, Cody Paul Griffin, 25, and Daniel George Chase, 22, all from Taupo, each deny charges of murder and aggravated robbery of Henry's green backpack at his Whangamata Rd home on July 20 last year.
In his closing submission to the jury this morning, Clarke's lawyer Max Simpkins told the jury of four women and seven men that the evidence of Natasha Telford was key as she agreed to hearing Clarke get back in the car and state the shooting was "an accident" or that "it wasn't meant to happen like that".
"The evidence tells you that it was dark ... that there was no light on the shed... it was but winter and it was cloudy overhead. It was raining, heavily. These are the things that you need to look at as to whether there was any prospect of an accident."
Henry's Whangamata Rd property was also foreign to his client, he didn't know his way round.
Backed up by Telford's statement, it was proof that he didn't go there with the intention of shooting Henry.
"He's not guilty of murder. Because I want you to convict him of manslaughter, because he didn't know that it was likely to cause his death, because it was an accident.
"Hold him responsible. Find him guilty of manslaughter."
Earlier in her closing statement this morning, Crown prosecutor Amanda Gordon said the men went armed with a loaded firearm, with the intention of robbing Henry of cash and drugs.
She said it was Clarke who had the gun and fired the fatal shot into Henry's chest.
They then stole Henry's backpack, which was often where his drugs and cash were stored, and fled the scene.
They headed into the Pureora Forest where they buried items of Henry's that they didn't want.
"The Crown submit that there really is no dispute about any of these essential facts," she said.
She said the trio formed a plan, involving the taking of the loaded firearm.
As for the murder charge, Gordon said it was Clarke who fired the fatal shot.
"When he shot Henry he knew that the act of shooting Mr Henry was likely to cause his death and it did kill him. Even though he might not have wanted to commit the aggravated robbery without hurting anyone.
"As a result of Mr Clarke shooting Mr Henry and killing him, he is at the very least guilty of manslaughter … but the Crown say Mr Clarke is guilty of his murder."
As for defence counsel references to the night being stormy – wet and windy – and that the shot could have been fired accidentally, Gordon said there had been no evidence submitted by any witnesses that Clarke had spoken of slipping in the wet weather.
Griffin and Chase were charged as being a party to the murder, she said, which meant as they all went to Henry's home with the intention of committing the aggravated robbery they were also guilty to any other act committed by either of them during the course of that robbery.
In regards to the aggravated robbery charge, Gordon said after all the evidence, she still wasn't sure what the defence was to the charge as it hadn't been challenged during the trial.
She told the jury there was evidence of Griffin and Clarke being aware of the loaded firearm, but Chase may not have been aware. If they decide he wasn't aware, he would be guilty of manslaughter.
She reminded the jury of evidence from Natasha Telford, who was asked by Clarke to show them where Henry lived, how they stopped and picked up Clarke, the car soon after stopping where the men changed their clothes, taking off their gang patches.
Telford recalled how she questioned Clarke about the need for a gun and was told "don't worry about it, you don't need to worry about it".
Telford said she replied "of course I'm worried about it, why do you need a gun, what are you doing … Scott's a good sort".
Telford described the atmosphere in the car, after the gun was shown, as being "charged, charged up".
She told the jury that the evidence of Telford, who was a "reluctant" witness after failing to turn up to court when first ordered, was "very important" and it was up to them what they made of it.
"A lot of what she said occurred can in fact be independently verified by other evidence that you have heard."
Telford also testified how, after the shooting, Griffin briefly came back to the Pajero she was sitting in and told her "I think he's killed him".
Gordon said the Crown had never shied from the fact that Henry was a drug dealer who mainly sold drugs to people that he knew.
"Just because he was a drug dealer it doesn't mean that he deserved to die in the way that he did."
A pathologist had also given evidence that it appeared Henry had been shot from a distance of between 2m and 5m.
None of the defence counsel for the accused offered any evidence on their clients' behalf.