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Winders jury hears ballistics evidence

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/08/2016

George Taiaroa © Supplied George Taiaroa The jury trying Quinton Winders for the murder of stop-go man George Taiaroa has heard complex evidence from Australian ballistics experts.

Walter Murphy, a forensic ballistics investigator with the New South Wales police, outlined on Thursday how serial numbers stamped on Winchester Cooee Model 39 .22 rifles he examined had serial numbers close to those belonging to firearms owned by Winders.

In his opinion, they were factory stamped with the same tool.

Earlier in the trial at the High Court at Rotorua, the jury was played a videoed interview Detective Steven Dunn conducted with Winders on April 4, 2013.

During it, Winders talked of having two rifles which either he had misplaced or had been "pinched" from his gun safe after his key ring with a safe key attached went missing in a burglary.

He had initially thought he might have left them behind after shooting goats but when he went back couldn't find them.

The weapon used to gun down Mr Taiaroa near Atiamuri on March 19, 2013, has not been recovered.

Gary Fleetwood, an Australian intelligence firearms analyst based in Adelaide and an expert in Cooee rifles, told the court the application of serials numbers was a real art and some firearms could carry more than one number.

Detective Senior Sergeant Edward Schey, from NSW police's ballistics division, examined three bullet fragments handed to him by Mr Dunn.

Markings known as engravings on the larger fragment indicated the bullet came from a .22 rifle.

The fragments had been removed from inside Mr Taiaroa's head when a post-mortem examination was carried out on his body.

Mr Schey said Winchester Cooee rifles were included in the list of possible manufacturers of the weapon that fired the fatal shot and confirmed to the Crown and again to assistant defence lawyer Ken Paterson that the fatal bullet was fired from a rifle cut with the same tool as rifles he'd examined and test fired.

Their serial numbers differed by only three to five numbers from a rifle registered as belonging to Winders.

At the close of Thursday's proceedings Justice Toogood told the jury it was now estimated he would not be summing up to them until September 8.

This meant the trial would be running into a fifth week, not the four as originally planned.

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