Top Shows

Wallace shooting inquest begins

Published: 1:40PM Monday September 12, 2005 Source: One News/RNZ

A former police detective says the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Steven Wallace on Waitara's main street five years ago didn't follow the rules.  

The coroner is holding an inquest in New Plymouth into whether police followed procedure in dealing with Wallace during his early-morning window-smashing spree in April 2000, and whether they offered enough medical help. 

Abbot was cleared of murder following a rare private prosecution by the Wallace family.

Earlier this year the Police Association sought to stop the coroner's inquiry, but the high court ruled it could go ahead.

Police Association Counsel Susan Hughes claims the inquest was becoming a rerun of the earlier trial.

Bryan Rowe, who formerly headed the Auckland CIB for three years, told the coroner that Senior Constable Keith Abbot, who shot Wallace, failed to properly take control of the incident. And he says that it is remarkable that they later concentrated on marking their positions rather than helping the wounded man. 

The Wallace family lawyer Ron Mansfield claims Wallace need never have died if correct police procedure had been followed.

"Right from the word go police policy and instructions were not followed," Mansfield said.

Mansfield alleges police had used excessive force.

"Two shots - the third being the fatal shot and the fourth to Steven Wallace's back as he twisted and fell to the ground - in that short space of time were excessive," says Mansfield.

Rowe, who had also been a witness for the family in the earlier trial, said police behaviour had been disgraceful.

"His plan should have been to cordon and contain Wallace by himself and the other two constables until back up arrived," Rowe said.

Police will put their case on Tuesday.