16 Feb 2011

Shot constable tells of trying to dodge bullets

7:18 pm on 16 February 2011

A police officer shot in South Auckland has described how he tried to avoid bullets fired at him before he was hit four times.

Neshanderan Rajgopaul is accused of attempting to murder Constable Jeremy Snow to protect a stash of methamphetamine and stolen goods in Papatoetoe in December 2009.

The defence says another man is responsible for shooting the officer.

Constable Snow began giving evidence on Wednesday afternoon, telling the Auckland High Court that he and Constable Robert Cato were checking out a stolen car when he went to investigate rustling in the bushes.

Mr Snow said he shone his torch and saw a man wearing a high-visibility vest whom he believed was Indian with a goatee.

The constable said he called to the man, telling him to come out from behind a tree and walked towards him.

The court was told when the man started running away, Mr Snow chased him. The man then started shooting at the officer, hitting him in his legs, an elbow and his chest.

Mr Snow recalled yelling out to Mr Cato telling him that he had been hit and hearing the panic and fear in his partner's voice as he radioed for help.

Earlier, Constable Cato told the court how he ran for his life as his partner was fired at.

Mr Cato says soon after Mr Snow went to investigate the noise in the bushes, he heard a volley of shots fired in quick succession followed by his partner's screams.

Mr Cato told the court he then saw a man casually walking toward him and, thinking it must be the gunman, reluctantly left an injured Mr Snow and ran for his life. The officer believed he was also being fired at as he ran.

Accused 'took the fall' for associate

The lawyer for the accused told the court on Wednesday that his client took the fall for a member of Auckland's criminal underbelly.

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield says Mr Rajgopaul did not pull the trigger and it was instead an associate of his high on methamphetamine and wanted for arrest.

That man, Darren Court, is now a Crown witness.

Mr Mansfield told the jury the case is very far from being straightforward and throughout the trial they are likely to hear from a side of Auckland they did not know existed.