Shot teen's family $1m case may set new precedent
Fri, 19 Oct 2012 11:12p.m.
By Jenny Suo
The family of a teenager who was accidentally shot dead during a police pursuit is planning to sue police for $1 million.
Halatau Naitoko, 17, was caught in crossfire as police tried to stop a gunman in 2009.
Now a landmark legal battle could have far reaching consequences.
Mr Naitoko, a courier driver and young father, was killed by police, accidentally shot as they tried to stop a gunman on an Auckland motorway.
Now his family is planning to sue, to send a message that this cannot happen again.
The family’s lawyer Colin Pidgeon says the family wanted to do something.
“Their son is dead and this isn’t going to bring him back, but the extent of the errors that were made that led up to his death were so great that they felt they should do something.”
Mr Naitoko's family is suing under the Bill of Rights Act in a section called the "right not to be deprived of life".
It's an unprecedented move that Auckland University law lecturer Bill Hodge says will be an uphill battle.
“It’s not clear that they were acting unreasonably or using deadly force to bring down a very dangerous person. Were they acting unreasonably? They made a terrible mistake, its a tragedy, but should the tax payer pay? That's the question.”
While some experts say the case won't succeed, Mr Pidgeon disagrees.
“There’s been a number of awards for breaches of the Bill of Rights Act for failure to carry proper searches or wrongful arrests, and some of those have gone into the six figures.”
If it's successful, it will set a legal precedent, Mr Hodge says.
“It would mean a different approach for people in Pike River, like people who died in the Christchurch earthquake, like people who died at the Mt Wellington RSA. All those things have been blanketed and shut down by ACC, but those cases could come forward under this section if this case is successful.”
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22/10/2012 10:53:14 a.m.
the DR wrote:
why only one million?
22/10/2012 8:27:24 a.m.
FAIR NZER wrote:
Taxpayers have not properly train this POLICEMAN and perhaps others as well, thus it is not surprising that they will be legally liable...no ifs or buts!
21/10/2012 6:56:46 p.m.
It's probabbly easier to say but I think that some kind education fund and a nest egg for those left behind and JUST punishment for the piece of crap that the cops had to stop (no law enforcement = Anarchy) maybe the bit of filth should be held accountable for "its" actions and stop expecting us taxpayers to bail them out and pay for there actions.
Sorry to the family for the loss of your loved one. I think that you are sueing the wrong person as it will come down to the single cop who pulled the trigger. Take away enjoyment from the _________ that IS to blame for all that happend not our overworked police force!
21/10/2012 12:02:34 p.m.
I think this is going to have a very negative effect on the way Police deal with armed offenders in the future. Just waiting for the public outcry "Why didn't the Police do anything?" when the next time something like this happens the Police decide against shooting, and the offender goes and kills someone else.
20/10/2012 8:20:07 p.m.
The National Government was warned about guns and bullets that will eventually come down to this' but suieng for $1 millon is not even enough' to pay for someones life.
New Zealand people prefer to avoid such terrorist or act of guns' or violent is what we prefer the law and recruitments should follow and if you cannot afford to pay those respect then you should'nt have been qualified for the job.
We come a long way to recieved such diaster but to avoid guns and bullets' in our communityy.
20/10/2012 4:18:46 p.m.
All paid for with tax payers money and no chance to win except for the lawyers.
20/10/2012 1:44:56 p.m.
It's about time ACC was disbanded. They don't give a damn about the victims, and just look for a way to wheedle out of paying what they should.
20/10/2012 12:17:58 p.m.
#1 cause was the crim they were chasing - Slap the $1 mil on the crim and take it out of the support the crim gets. NZ jails too soft anyway.
20/10/2012 10:59:14 a.m.
There should be compensation through Acc but I don't think they should sue the police. What about people who get shot by criminals they don't get to sue anyone
20/10/2012 6:36:48 a.m.
It could be a way to make our govt more accountable. I would hate to see nz turn out like america but I think these circumstances warrant a look into. Where there is no recourse for the families due to acc, and failings have been found, an apology just does not seem enough. There are the coronors recommendations which go vastly unacted upon. I shall watch this case with interest.
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