17 Sep 2014

Jury returns verdict in cop attack case

6:43 pm on 17 September 2014

An Otara man who bashed a police officer, leaving him with several broken bones in his face, has been found not guilty by a jury of attempted murder.

Walter Tauatevalu, 37, has been convicted of an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He had earlier admitted to the attack but denied attempting to kill Sergeant Simon Tate in the incident in south Auckland in September last year.

The court heard Sergeant Tate had pulled over the car Tauatevalu was driving and was speaking to the passenger when he was attacked from behind.

Tauatevalu's lawyer, Graeme Newell, argued he may have been provoked by pepper spray.

Mr Newell said although witnesses and the officer could not recall the use of pepper spray, the can which the officer had on him was 30 milligrams lighter following the incident.

He said if it was used, Tauatevalu's attack was not motivated by an intent to kill but he was provoked.

In its closing submission, the Crown argued Tauatevalu's intentions went far beyond wanting to cause serious harm, judging by the way he repeatedly kicked and stomped on the officer's head.

Tauatevalu has been remanded in custody to reappear for sentencing in early November.