24 May 2010

Shot officer tells of trying to keep identity secret

4:24 pm on 24 May 2010

A police officer shot during a covert operation says he was still focused on keeping his identity as an officer secret when confronted by two men armed with an air rifle.

John Skinner and Iain Clegg are on trial in the High Court in Auckland charged with murdering Sergeant Don Wilkinson and attempting to murder another officer, who has name suppression, in September 2008.

The officers were shot after being discovered trying to attach a tracking device to Mr Skinner's car outside his house in Mangere, which was suspected of being used as a methamphetamine lab.

The Crown says the accused chased the officers, shooting both three times at close range with a high-powered rifle.

The defence says the accused thought the officers were car thieves and were trying to protect the property.

On Monday, Officer M was cross-examined and told the court he was hit with something in the head and was then shot three to four times.

Mr Skinner's lawyer, Marie Dhyberg, suggested to Officer M that the circumstances were not ideal for a clear and reliable recollection because he was stunned from a cut to the head and his adrenaline was pumping.

Officer M says while the circumstances were not ideal, he was still coherent.

The court was told the officer raised his hands as if to surrender to the men armed with the air rifle and the action could have been seen as a martial arts stance, but he did not believe he was approaching the men aggressively.

Meanwhile, another officer described to the court the confusion immediately following the officers being shot.

The officer, who can only be referred to as Officer H, says after hearing over the police radio that the two officers had run away, another message came through to say that they were okay. However, shortly after that, he says a faint call for help came over the radio.