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Crown and defence sum up in Winders case

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/09/2016

The Crown says there can be no doubt that murder accused Quinton Winders was the person who shot road worker George Taiaroa.

But defence lawyer Jonathan Temm says Winders was "framed" because evidence that should have been followed was discarded.

Winders, 45, is charged with the murder of Mr Taiaroa, who was shot while operating a stop-go sign near Atiamuri, south of Tokoroa, on March 19, 2013.

Both sides gave their closing addresses to the jury in the High Court at Rotorua on Tuesday.

Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon said crucial points clearly implicated Winders.

Because of an accident at the same spot a week earlier, Winders had a reason to dislike Mr Taiaroa, she said.

While it remained inexplicable why he would want to kill Mr Taiaroa, it provided a link.

Ms Gordon said Winders drove a blue Jeep Cherokee matching the one most witnesses saw at the scene, CCTV evidence established he could have been there at the right time, he had a .22 rifle that could have fired the fatal bullet and he altered his jeep's appearance.

Ms Gordon said the defence's suggestion of a case of mistaken identity was "just a sideshow, a dead end to divert attention from the real evidence".

But Mr Temm said: "For the Crown, everything my client does is suspicious."

He said the prosecution had retracted its original claim that the accident had been the catalyst for the shooting by downgrading it to "just a link" in its closing submissions.

He took issue with the claim that Winders had a propensity to react irrationally with firearms to matters of minor irritation, saying defence evidence had disproved this.

"There is a world of difference from confronting poachers on his property to driving 250km to kill a man who had done him no harm," he said.

Mr Temm said witnesses had disagreed about the colour of the jeep and given wide-ranging descriptions of the driver.

"You have heard everything from Bilbo Baggins to Andre the Giant," he said.

He said jurors should discard Crown evidence that left them with uncertainties.

Justice Kit Toogood will sum up on Wednesday.

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