Victim's parents back harsher charges
Thu, 27 Sep 2012 4:11p.m.
By Charlotte Shipman
The parents of a man shot on a hunting trip have welcomed a coroner's suggestion that those involved with hunting deaths face harsher charges.
Ranald and Cyndy McDonald's son Cameron was shot at close range by former Wellington Deerstalkers' Association president and firearms instructor Christopher Dummer.
It happened just 18 months after Rosemary Ives was killed by Andrew Mears. He mistook her LED headlamp for the eyes of an animal while she was brushing her teeth at a campsite.
Mears was convicted of manslaughter, but Dummer was charged with the lesser charge of careless use of a firearm causing death.
Cameron McDonald’s parents say that’s not good enough.
“These boys shouldn't be getting killed in the bush. Manslaughter is what it is,” says Ms McDonald.
“I think all people should be charged with manslaughter, it should start from there,” says Mr McDonald.
Coroner Wallace Bain agrees and suggests manslaughter should always be the charge when hunters mistakenly kill humans.
On average in the past decade, there's been one hunting death per year.
Another recommendation is to review the number of hunting permits issued and to look at whether hunters with high-powered rifles should be allowed in public parks at all.
The Mountain Safety Council supports the call but doubts it will save lives because most deaths happen within hunting parties.
“It may not impact safety but certainly from a courtesy point of view it's certainly going to allow people to use public land without having hunters around them,” says spokesperson Mike Spray.
Mr Spray's confident there would be no hunting deaths if hunters followed the rules and made sure they identified their targets beyond all doubt.
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