23 Mar 2018

Crown closes case in Chozyn Koroheke murder trial

6:56 am on 23 March 2018

The Crown has closed its case against an Auckland man on trial for the murder of his girlfriend at her East Auckland home.

Turiarangi Tai, on trial in the High Court in Auckland for the murder of Chozyn Koroheke.

Turiarangi Tai, on trial in the High Court in Auckland for the murder of Chozyn Koroheke. Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

Turiarangi Tai allegedly murdered 22-year-old Chozyn Koroheke last April.

At the High Court in Auckland yesterday, Mr Tai held his head in his hands for most of the three-and-a-half hours the Crown took in closing its case against him.

Ms Koroheke's father sat in the public gallery, like he has done every day since the trial started three weeks ago.

His daughter was shot by Mr Tai just before 4.45pm on 4 April 2016, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Mark Williams told the jury Mr Tai intended to kill his girlfriend when he shot her with a double-barrelled shot gun.

"You will come to the inevitable truth that Mr Tai deliberately pulled that trigger intending to kill Chozyn or at the very least intended to cause her injury and he knew would be likely to lead to her death and carried on anyway," Mr Williams told the jury.

On the stand Mr Tai had repeatedly said he did not aim the gun at Ms Koroheke but agreed he did shoot her.

Mr Williams said the Crown's gun expert witness supported its case that Mr Tai deliberately pulled the trigger.

"More than 2.4 kilograms of pressure - almost five blocks of butter - was needed to pull that trigger and discharge the gun," he said.

"It was tested and found not to fire accidentally."

At the time of Ms Koroheke's death she and Mr Tai had been in a relationship for a few months, Mr Williams said.

Crown witnesses said it had deteriorated rapidly the week before Ms Koroheke died.

But Mr Tai said, on the stand, Ms Koroheke had bruises on her but they were never from him.

Ms Koroheke was shot in her brother, Nacyn's, bedroom. He and his then-girlfriend Samantha Douglas, who shared the room, were there and saw Mr Tai shoot her.

Mr Williams said Mr Tai's evidence was littered with lies and it's Mr Koroheke and Ms Douglas' version of events that were correct.

"Samantha and Nacyn [saw] Mr Tai with a shotgun earlier in the day, unloaded," he said.

"Mr Tai coming into that bedroom being abusive to Chozyn in an angry state. Jabbing the shotgun at her head before lowering it to her abdomen and with a significant amount of pressure deliberately pulled the trigger with, of course, that safety catch off."

Mr Tai said he didn't know anything about guns but put the catch to the 'S' position on the shotgun, thinking it meant the safety was on, not knowing it actually meant it could fire.

Mr Williams claimed Mr Tai crafted his story after the fact to protect himself.

"He has put forward a version of events, I suggest, that he can live with," Mr Williams argued.

"And not a version of events that is true or even makes basic sense."

Defence lawyer Peter Kaye said in his opening that Mr Tai was not guilty of murder, but the jury should consider manslaughter.

Mr Kaye will begin his closing tomorrow.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs