28 Jul 2017

Father found guilty of manslaughter

6:49 pm on 28 July 2017

Gustav Otto Sanft has been found guilty of the manslaughter of his two-year-old daughter, who he fatally shot last year.

Gustav Sanft at the High Court in Auckland.

Gustav Sanft at the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Edward Gay

Sanft had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

After four hours of deliberation the jury asked the judge to help them with the issue of what is considered gross negligence.

They also wanted to know whether Sanft's knowledge of faults in the gun would change his degree of negligence

Within the past hour, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter.

The crown said Sanft was criminally negligent when he pointed the gun at his daughter's head and pulled the trigger even if he did not intend to kill her.

The defence argued that he did not pull the trigger and the faulty gun went off by accident.

As the foreman read the verdict, many in the packed public gallery, including several children, began to cry.

Sanft turned to face them as he left and they called out that they loved him.

Outside the court, family spokesperson Tipene Daniels said the whanau continued to carry the memory of Amokura.

Mr Daniel said Amokura was a vivacious gift to the whanau.

He said the case was complex and tragic and the whanau was grateful to have one another for support.

Mr Daniels said the family will now move on, outside of the public eye.

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