Members of the Police have been found to have acted lawfully when they fatally shot Christchurch man Shayne Richard Sime in June 2009.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has released its report into the shooting in Wadhurst Place, Burnside, on the evening of 28 June 2009.
The Authority has found that Police acted lawfully in the execution of their duty, in the defence of themselves, and of others.
Police had been called by neighbours after Mr Sime began firing two shotguns and a .308 rifle around the cul-de-sac where he lived. Mr Sime fired approximately 98 shotgun cartridges and 12 shots from the rifle during the incident. A neighbour was injured by a shotgun blast, one Police officer was struck in the face by pellets, and other officers had been preparing to fire tear gas into Mr Sime’s house when he emerged to fire upon them.
Police fired a total of 18 shots at Mr Sime in defence of themselves and others. Mr Sime was hit by five of them.
“There was no evidence of misconduct or neglect of duty on the part of those involved, and no decision, act or conduct was contrary to law, unreasonable, unfair or unjustified,” said Authority Chair, Justice Lowell Goddard.
In other findings, the Authority believes that greater assurance and transparency in the review of incidents involving the Armed Offenders Squad would be possible if there was an ability to record their communications and orders on their encrypted radio channel and in their Command Centre. However this does not bring into question the actions and decisions taken in respect of this incident.
The Authority also believes that Mr Sime’s background and medical history casts some doubt on whether he should ever have been granted a Firearms Licence by Police. On the basis of the information that was provided in the application file, more diligent inquiries into his medical condition and background should have been made, and the decision on his suitability should have been escalated to a senior officer for final assessment.
The Authority has made three recommendations to Police:
1) That communications on encrypted radio channels used by the Armed Offenders Squad and Special Tactics Group should be recorded.
2) That the training and guidelines provided to Arms Officers should be reviewed to ensure that there is clear understanding of the levels at which firearms licences may be routinely issued, and more clearly determine the point where applications should be referred to senior officers for adjudication.
3) That there be independent, random auditing of firearms licence application files to ensure that the guidelines are consistently and accurately followed.