Coroner favours ministerial review on hunting safety

  • 18/08/2015
Cameron McDonald (File)
Cameron McDonald (File)

By 3 News online staff

The mother of a man killed when a fellow hunter accidentally shot him in the head, has had her recommendations for law changes declined as "draconian".

A coroner's report into the 2012 death of Auckland builder Alexander Cameron McDonald has favoured a ministerial review into outdoor gun use over making any coronial recommendations.

Mr McDonald, known as 'Cam', was shot by a hunter from another party, Christopher Dummer, in Aorangi Forest Park in south Wairarapa, after he mistook him for a deer.

Dummer, a former president of the Wellington Deerstalkers Association, pleaded guilty to careless use of a firearm.

Mr McDonald's parents Ranald and Cyndy said the charges did not go far enough, and Dummer should have been charged with manslaughter.

At an inquest last August, the McDonalds were shocked when Dummer confirmed he wanted to keep hunting.

In evidence, Ms McDonald urged Parliament to consider law changes on criminal charges for hunting injuries and deaths.

A charge of hunting death by firearm with mandatory prison time should be introduced, where gross negligence could not be established, she recommended.

Where gross negligence was evident, a charge of manslaughter accompanied by mandatory prison time should be introduced.

However, in his decision released today, Coroner Garry Evans favoured Associate Conservation Minister Peter Dunne's recent confirmation to hold a ministerial review into recreational hunter safety.

The review will be led by police and is intended to be "holistic", although will not recommend changes to the Arms Act or the Arms Regulations.

Coroner Evans said the court "thoroughly understands the reasons for the legislative changes urged by Mrs McDonald".

"A change in the law of the kind urged by her would be draconian in nature and out of keeping with the contemporary approach to towards lawmaking," he said.

Her recommendations would be sent to the minister for consideration, the Coroner said.

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