3 Sep 2019

Jury handed DNA evidence in Paul Te Hiko shooting case

12:02 pm on 3 September 2019

The jury in a trial of a man accused of murder were told today that after he shot a man, he "watched him die, and then patted down his jacket".

New Zealand Coat of Arms

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Falcon Samuels, 30, is accused of shooting Paul Te Hiko at his home on 7 March 2018.

Today the Crown and defence summed up their cases to a jury in the High Court in Wellington.

Crown solicitor Grant Burston told the court on the day of the killing, Mr Samuels drove with two accomplices to a building called "the Dojo", where Mr Te Hiko lived. They stopped at a field near the house, with a plan to steal a stash of drugs from Mr Samuels.

But after seeing Mr Samuels was at home, the two other men returned to the car to get a shotgun.

But the defence told the court Mr Samuels did not shoot Mr Te Hiko and there was no evidence he had.

DNA evidence produced by the Crown showed Mr Samuels was there on the night Mr Te Hiko died, and was found on the dead man's jacket.

Mr Burston told the jury: "Falcon Samuels touched Paul Te Hiko's dead body. He watched him die, and then he patted down his jacket."

Reading from the statement of one witness, whose name is suppressed, Mr Burston said that before leaving his two accomplices, Mr Samuels was "'prepared to do anything'".

"'It would be best to wait until Paul Te Hiko wasn't home - he would come out fighting.'"

The two accomplices then went to walk away from the building and heard shouting, before a gunshot.

Mr Buston said that the witness heard Mr Samuels say "'I'm pretty keen, I'm up for anything."

"When they got to the Dojo, he saw Falcon Samuels pull a half-cocked loaded shotgun out of a bag," Mr Burston said.

In closing, Mr Burston said: "On the basis of the evidence you've heard, you are able to be well and truly sure that Mr Falcon Samuels and no one else was the person who pulled the trigger, and killed Paul Te Hiko, and watched him die."

But the defence rejected this story and said that there were several holes in the Crown's narrative.

Lawyer Nicola Wright said that the DNA on the jacket would have come from Mr Samuels checking to see Mr Te Hiko was okay.

"We don't know if that DNA came from a single touch or multiple touches. The Crown says that's him patting him down for drugs. But we know when we have a look through the log, he didn't take his cigarettes, he didn't take his money. Was he seriously patting him down, or was he checking he's okay?

"And you might think, if you were the shooter, who shot someone from a metre, you'd have no reason to touch that person," she said.

Mrs Wright added that there was a lack of evidence that Mr Samuels was involved in any of the planning meetings that happened the day before the shooting.

She told the court that while DNA proved Mr Samuels was there that night, "that's the high point of the Crown case, and the only safe and reliable verdict, in this case, must be one of not guilty".

Tomorrow Justice Cook will sum up the case before the jury retires to consider its verdict.