20 Apr 2011

Man convicted of shooting officer plans appeal

9:12 pm on 20 April 2011

The lawyer for a man given the maximum sentence for attempting to murder a police officer says he plans to appeal because there has been a miscarriage of justice.

Neshanderan Rajgopaul shot Constable Jeremy Snow four times in December 2009 as the officer checked a suspicious vehicle in a driveway in Papatoetoe, south Auckland.

The 29-year-old, was found guilty of attempted murder and eight other charges on 14 March this year.

At the High Court in Auckland on Wednesday, Rajgopaul was sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison with a non-parole period of 10 years.

On the attempted murder charge, Rajgopaul was jailed for 14 years with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years. He was also sentenced to another four years' jail for shooting at an associate.

His lawyer, Ron Mansfield, says 14 years for the attempted murder charge is excessive and the expectation was that it might be between 10 and 12 years.

Mr Mansfield told Checkpoint on Wednesday the crime was not the most serious of its kind.

"There are other cases where there were more serious factors involved such as pre-meditation ... and other aggravating factors such as extended periods of cruelty."

Mr Mansfield says Rajgopaul also maintains that he was not the shooter.

Deliberate act, says judge

Justice Keane told Rajgopaul during sentencing that his attempt on Constable Snow's life could not have been more deliberate and the officer was extraordinarily fortunate that he did not die.

"You continued to shoot at him after you had hit him, you tracked him as he moved away from you and you continued shooting.

"The fact that you hit him four times and wounded him three times speaks for your intent. You could only have had one intent - and that was to kill him. You almost succeeded."

The judge told Rajgopaul he will remain a danger to the community as long as he keeps denying his crime.

Earlier, Mr Snow told the court of his slow recovery, saying he was still in pain and undergoing surgery.

He said he regards Rajgopaul as just another criminal and does not hate him.

"I don't see the shooting as a personal attack on me. I just happened to be the police officer who cornered him. I have no doubt had it been someone else, he would have shot them too.

"I would like to be able to forgive the accused, but if he can't even admit that it was him, then it makes it impossible to forgive someone."

Mr Snow said he is months away from resuming frontline duties.