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Winders was framed, family claims

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/12/2016

Image of Quinton Winders  © Mediaworks Image of Quinton Winders  The family of convicted murderer Quinton Winders maintain he has been framed by police and they will fight to clear his name.

Winders, 46, was on Friday jailed for at least 17 years for the 2013 shooting of road worker 67-year-old George Taiaroa, which police said was in revenge for a minor accident at the spot south of Tokoroa a week before.

Outside the High Court at Rotorua after the sentencing, Winders' sister Miranda Winders said the family were saddened by the "police lack of professionalism" and criticised how they handled the case.

The investigation took more than two-and-a-half years before a murder charge was laid. "It was based on circumstantial, incriminating evidence that framed an innocent man," she said from a prepared statement.

"Quinton Winders is an innocent man ... we as a family will continue to fight for my brother's freedom and this miscarriage of justice that has occurred and hope justice will prevail."

She said it was sad there had yet to be closure for either her family or the Tairoas.

In court, Justice Kit Toogood praised police for their integrity and thousands of hours that went into the investigation.

However, he was critical of the way police first arrested Winders about a week after Mr Tairoa's killing. That was a matter that could be pursued elsewhere, he said.

In his submissions, Winders' lawyer Jonathan Temm claimed police had breached the Human Rights Act by tackling Winders to the ground, handcuffing and arresting him while he was inside a Rotorua store.

Police aren't responding to the Winders' family criticism or Mr Temm's allegations.

In a statement after sentencing, investigation head Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson refers only to the judge's comments about the thorough investigation and the hours involved "which was in the highest traditions of New Zealand Police".

"I want to thank the investigation team, the expert witnesses and all those who have assisted with this complex inquiry.

"I would also like to again acknowledge and thank the family of George Taiaroa who have conducted themselves with great dignity throughout the investigation and court process."

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