Mike Watson at the Dom Post reports:
Mears, 26, of Hamilton, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years’ jail yesterday after admitting a charge of manslaughter in December. It is the first time someone has been convicted of manslaughter for a hunting homicide in New Zealand.
Miss Ives mother, Margaret McFarlane, told the court she “wanted to die herself” when she was rung to be told her daughter, a Montessori teacher, had been killed.
“I have no understanding of how a grown man could make so many illegal, selfish, ill-considered and deliberate decisions that ultimately led to him shooting my daughter at close range.
“This was not an accident and it did not happen by chance. There will never be any forgiveness from me for Mears.”
It is correct that this was not some stroke of bad luck, or accident.
Mears has impressed me by his contrition and willingness to front up and talk about how stupid he was, and how awful he feels about what he did (I 95% accept it as genuine – 5% of me remains stubbornly cynical and wonders if his lawyer just told him he should do that).
He does seem shattered by what he did, and I doubt he will ever offend again.
But not sending him to jail was never an option in my opinion, and the sentence is about right. A young woman is dead at Mears’ hand – gunned down in front of her partner. It wasn’t murder but it was manslaughter, and absolutely avoidable. Quite simply you don’t fire a gun unless you are absolutely sure what you are firing at.
Mears’ will not serve the full 30 months in prison. I expect he will get parole at the earliest opportunity. But his sentence hopefully ill serve as a deterrent to others.