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Winders trial jury adjourns deliberations

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/09/2016

The jury in the trial of Quinton Winders, who has been charged with the murder of road work George Taiaroa, has been sent home for the night.

The jurors will resume their deliberations in the High Court at Rotorua on Thursday morning after getting another viewing of a video interview that Winders did with a detective.

Winders, 45, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Taiaroa, who was shot while operating a stop-go sign near Atiamuri, south of Tokoroa, in March 2013.

The Crown says a minor crash at the site the previous week was the catalyst for the shooting, while the defence says the case is one of mistaken identity.

The jurors retired just before 1.20pm on Wednesday after Justice Kit Toogood told them to take as long as they needed to reach a verdict.

Justice Toogood also said jurors needed to put all sympathy and prejudice aside.

He said they shouldn't shy away from a guilty verdict simply because they could find it difficult to convict someone.

Equally, if they were unsure of Winders' guilt, they should find him not guilty.

The judge said the jurors should take into account what they had observed on their visit to the site where Mr Taiaroa was shot and their inspection of Winders' blue Jeep Cherokee.

Referring to Mr Temm's "forceful" assertion that Winders had been framed, he said he didn't take it that the defence was accusing police of manufacturing or presenting false evidence.

"What I understand Mr Temm to be saying is the defence has exposed potential lines of inquiry that could have been followed up but were abandoned from the point Winders became a person of interest," he said.

Justice Toogood said only one witness identified Winders as the driver of a blue Jeep Cherokee seen speeding from the murder scene.

Whether this was the compelling evidence the Crown claimed was for the jury to decide.

While the Crown presented an array of evidence pointing to Winders, the judge said the question of motive remained.

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