John Henry Harris' death had its genesis in a perceived debt between rival Tribesmen gang chapters and the subsequent theft of a red Holden Commodore.

The 37-year-old Tribesmen gang member, known as John Boy, was standing outside a house on Mower Rd, just north of Whangārei, just before 6am on October 18, 2016 when he was shot at by Nicky Dodd using a pump action shotgun from about 100m away.

John Henry Harris, above, died after being shot by gang member Nicky Dodd.
John Henry Harris, above, died after being shot by gang member Nicky Dodd.

Harris dropped to the ground and was loaded in a vehicle before beign driven to the St John Ambulance station in Whangārei where he died from a single gunshot wound to his chest.

Dodd was charged with murder, but found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in the High Court at Whangārei in October and was sentenced to four years and four months imprisonment when he appeared for sentencing today.

Advertisement
Nicky Dodd during his trial in the High Court at Whangārei. Photo/John Stone
Nicky Dodd during his trial in the High Court at Whangārei. Photo/John Stone

He initially also faced charges of perverting the course of justice and two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Two more senior gang members were charged with murder over Harris' death, but later had other charges laid.

Forensic officers gather evidence at Mower Rd, where John Harris was shot.
Forensic officers gather evidence at Mower Rd, where John Harris was shot.

Walter Reid Ngaau, 55, and Adam Owen Dodd, 40, were initially charged with murder but both pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful assembly in relation to the death.

Dodd's brother Adam Dodd, a patched member of the Whangārei chapter of the Tribesmen Motorcycle Club, was in July this year sentenced to 22 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to charges of theft and unlawful assembly.

Ex-president of Whangārei Black Power, Ngaau, was sentenced to six months imprisonment on one charge of unlawful assembly.

John Harris was standing outside this property on Mower Rd when he was shot at by Nicky Dodd. Photo/NZME
John Harris was standing outside this property on Mower Rd when he was shot at by Nicky Dodd. Photo/NZME

Two others — Brezzin Anne Doyle, 39, and Chayce Hayward-Dodd, 27— are charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder. They are on bail to re-appear in the High Court in February next year.

Court documents and evidence given during Nicky Dodd's trial reveal a confrontation between the Tribesmen's Far North and Whangārei chapters culminated in the death of Harris, from Rangiahua in Okaihau.

In 2015, a Tribesmen member transferred from the Whangārei chapter to the Far North chapter where he later became president.

Following his transfer, Adam Dodd ordered the member to give up his Harley Davidson V-Rod as payment for the transfer.

This form of debt collection among gangs is known as "taxing" and frequently involves illegal activity and is often accompanied by, or followed by, violence.

Conflict arose because the Whangarei Chapter perceived the transferred gangmember owed a further debt when he continued to reside in Whangārei, rather than the Far North.

On 15 October 2016, Adam Dodd went to Mower Rd where the gang member was residing to take a red Holden Commodore which belonged to the gang member's partner.

Dodd spoke to the gangster for about 20 minutes and told him he was going to take the car, and he did.

The scene where John Harris died at St John Ambulance station being forensically surveyed. Photo/NZME
The scene where John Harris died at St John Ambulance station being forensically surveyed. Photo/NZME

The gangmember said later he feared there would be violence against him, his partner and his children, who were also present at the address, if he tried to prevent Adam Dodd from taking the vehicle.

The gangmember then contacted the Far North Tribesmen to assist in getting the vehicle back, but negotiations failed to resolve the issue.

About 3.30am on October 18, 2016, several members of the Far North Tribesmen travelled to Adam Dodd's home in Kensington and retrieved the Commodore. Shots were also heard while the gang members were at Adam Dodd's house. The vehicle was then taken back to Mower Rd.

Adam Dodd called his brother Nicky Dodd, who went to Kensington before the brothers travelled to Whakapara to check on their other brother, Kelly Dodd.

In a police interview, Nicky Dodd said he thought the gang members were at his brother's house when he called him.

He drove to Kensington but what Adam failed to say was that incident had happened earlier that morning.

From Whakapara, Nicky Dodd drove to the intersection of State Highway 1 and Mower Rd and fired a shot that killed Harris. Harris was with a group of gang members outside the Mower Rd home when the fatal shot was fired.

Nicky Dodd admitted to police he fired a shot towards a group of gang members because they had terrorised his brother's family.

However, he said the shot was a scare tactic rather than aimed at anyone specifically at the house on Mower Rd.

"I wasn't aiming at anybody. There were too many of them. [The shot] wasn't meant to go that far. I was half asleep at the time," he told Detective Josh Lautogo in a recorded interview played to the jury at his trial.

When asked what he did with the firearm, Nicky Dodd said he dumped it in a river a long time ago but wouldn't say where.

The Crown case during the three-week trial was that Nicky Dodd discharged a firearm while knowing people were present outside the Mower Rd house.

Nicky Dodd would not have stashed his car and driven to a public toilet for an associate to pick him up after the shooting if he had not meant to shoot anyone, Crown solicitor Mike Smith told the jury.

But Dodd maintained the shot was purely a scare tactic.

He said the jury could not be sure the shot that killed Harris came from him, as witnesses heard more than one shot fired.

A Northland gang prospect told a jury he was traumatised at seeing Harris on the ground bleeding from a gunshot wound.

The man said he was standing beside Harris, known as John Boy, outside the Mower Rd house when he was struck by the fatal shot.

"My head's not the same since I saw John Boy bleeding out on the driveway," he told the jury.

"I was traumatised. That gunshot haunts me. I saw John Boy bleeding out. I didn't know what to do. I froze, then ran to help him."

Nicky Dodd was also sentenced to no minimum non-parole period.