Bay machete attack ruled unintentional

The pair appeared before a jury in the Tauranga High Court last week. File photo.

An Opotiki man has been found not guilty of intentionally wounding another man with a machete.

Colin Tutbury, 66, is one of two men accused of a number of violent offences at a coastal Opotiki area including wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Tutbury was found guilty of the lesser charge of wounding with reckless disregard at the end of a one week trial in the High Court at Tauranga.

He appeared alongside Wayne Matchitt, 51, who also faced charges for similar violent offences.

In her opening earlier last week, Crown prosecutor Hayley Sheridan told the jury about an approach made by the accused on two fishers.

She says Matchitt and Tutbury accused the couple of trespass, desecrating the beach and made demands to see their catch.

The Crown says this approach was the catalyst to a number of other violence offences including a machete attack on local resident, Jeremy Johns.

According to the crown, Jeremy became involved in an altercation with the accused after his partner, Melissa Franklin, returned home having witnessed the approach on the two fishers.

“Melissa claims to have witnessed the altercation on the beach and to have approached the accused, and as a result was then physically assaulted, harassed and threatened with rape by the two men.

“After becoming aware of this, her partner Jeremy returned to the beach, where an altercation has then occurred.”

She says during the altercation, Tutbury presented a machete from his vehicle and struck Jeremy, causing a 10cm laceration to his arm.

He was found not guilty of common assault against Melissa Franklin.

Matchitt was found not guilty of common assault and threatening to kill in relation to this altercation.

Both men also face a number of charges related to the two fishers, Robert Pole and Tracy Gallagher.

“This interaction led to a number of acts of physical and verbal abuse, including the complainants being shoved, threatened with violence and victim to a number of racial slurs, on the basis that they were trespassers ‘desecrating private whenua,” says Hayley.

Both were found guilty of all charges relating to these victims including intimidation and assault with intent to injure, with two additional counts of threatening behaviour for Matchitt.

The men are set to appear in the Tauranga High Court for sentencing on February 2.


Yes overit........

Posted on 09-12-2017 10:02 | By groutby

......the verdict does seem interesting given that a machete' was brandished in anger and yet not seen to be punished for assault and threatening to kill...what was he going to do with this weapon? it on the ground and do the "Highland Fling" around it in protest???And yes given that there are groups out there who have different beliefs to that of the law to which we are ALL responsible to, we will see more of this as time goes on....

The attackers claimed themselves that this was a racist attack.

Posted on 09-12-2017 08:14 | By MMG

Racial slurs from the attackers were admitted to be included in their intimidations, threats & assaults etc. Is that why they were let off? How is a machete which was brought into the attack by one of the attackers used "by accident"?? We should all think about this. We already know what is going on.


Posted on 08-12-2017 14:26 | By morepork

I share Overit's concern. How can you "unintentionally" cut someone with a machete? And there is no excuse for the abuse and violence either. It stems from an "attitude" and that attitude is dangerous. If the first line of defence when you disagree with somebody is to go to the car and get a weapon, there is little hope for any of us. The guilty verdict is a correct one but it doesn't address the underlying problem of people recognizing that all of us have a right to the beach and the ocean. (Unless it was actually trespass on private land, of course. Still doesn't justify the response.) I'll be interested to see what the actual sentence is...


Posted on 08-12-2017 12:37 | By overit

I guess we will see more this as time goes on. Found the verdict interesting.

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