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Murder trial jury examines vehicle

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/09/2016

The day before road worker George Taiaroa was shot dead, a blue Jeep Cherokee was seen in the area he was killed, its driver acting suspiciously, a High Court jury has been told.

That will be the basis of the defence case in the trial of Quinton Winders, who has been charged with murdering Mr Taiaroa at a road construction site at Atiamuri, south of Tokoroa, on March 19, 2013.

Winders pleaded not guilty when the trial opened in Rotorua on August 8 and the Crown concluded its case on Thursday after calling 140 witnesses, some more than once.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Temm said he wouldn't be calling Winders to testify but 10 witnesses would give evidence on his behalf.

Mr Temm said they would include three who, on March 18, saw a blue Jeep Cherokee in the area around the Tram Road bridge where Mr Taiaroa was gunned down the following day.

All would say the driver was a Maori and one would tell the jury he had followed it because of the way the driver was acting.

Another witness would say that, about 45 minutes before the shooting, she saw someone hiding in bushes below the bridge Mr Taiaroa was controlling with a stop-go sign.

Mr Temm said the Crown's case was that road rage was the genesis for the killing, that a week after a minor accident Winders set out to kill Mr Taiaroa, a man he didn't know and had never spoken to.

"Remember, you have heard no semblance of road rage," he said.

"He [Winders] hadn't caused the accident nor had Mr Taiaroa. It was caused by a man in his 70s [Winders' father] reversing and bumping into another vehicle. His car received no damage, the matter was resolved amicably."

The trial has been adjourned until Monday.

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