A man who shot armed intruders outside his rural home has been found not guilty of murder.
Orren Scott Williams, 38, was also on trial for three counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm for the 2019 incident.
Four men had broken into his west coast Waikato home, near Kāwhia, in the early hours of June 6 – the Crown says to steal cannabis.
The men were masked and armed with a shotgun and machete – they fought with Williams, and held a gun over him and his wife before he made a break for his firearms cabinet.
Outside the Hauturu home, Williams fired at least eight shots from a semi-automatic rifle, and hit all four men – one of whom later died from his wounds.
On Monday, the jury at Hamilton High Court started deliberating at 10.50am and returned with a verdict of not guilty to both murder and manslaughter around 4pm.
The jurors also found Williams not guilty of the charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Sounds a fair decision. If you break into someone’s place with weapons, they get to act in self defence.
The Crown had said Williams knew the men were leaving when he shot at them in his driveway.
“The Crown says it’s hardly acting in defence of yourself and your family, shots fired in anger, to tell people to get lost,” Justice Peters paraphrased.
The defence, on the other hand, said when the car stopped part-way down the drive Williams thought the men were regrouping.
He fired the first shot after seeing the nearby shape of a man he thought had a gun, and thinking “it’s either him or me”.
The defence argued that “in the circumstances you don’t just stand back and think, oh well, a couple of shots should do the trick”, Justice Peters said.
If they only had machetes the Crown might have had a case. Nut the offenders had a shotgun also.
Hopefully those involved in the attempted armed robbery, who survived, stop committing armed robberies.