Kawerau police shooter Rhys Warren sentenced to preventive detention

Rhys Warren has been sentenced to preventive detention at the Tauranga High Court on Friday, and will spend at least ten years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Preventive detention means Warren may be released from prison on parole if he's deemed safe - but he will remain managed by Corrections for the rest of his life.

Warren stood trial in March after shooting four police officers in a siege near Kawerau last year.

He was found guilty of six charges: Two counts of attempted murder, three counts of using a firearm against law enforcement and a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The siege began when a shot was fired while police tried to remove cannabis plants near the house at Otakiri.

Warren barricaded himself in his home during a 22-hour stand-off.

Constable Damian White, Constable Andrew Flinn, Constable Regan Mauheni, and Sergeant Logan Marsh were all shot at the rural address, which they used sledgehammers to enter.

Constable Regan Mauheni was hit in the head by shrapnel during the shootout, putting him in hospital for weeks - and off work for more than five months.

"My eyes were full of blood. I knew it was bad but not how bad at the time," he told the court during the trial.

Mr Mauheni's colleague Martyn Roe recalled entering the hallway and hearing a loud bang.

He told the court he saw Mr Mauheni fall "like kauri tree," with a large amount of blood on his face and he feared the worst.

At that point the siege became a rescue mission and the officers opened fire to provide cover.

Warren was never charged with any of the alleged crimes that led to the siege.

Throughout his trial, he never denied firing his weapon, but said he felt threatened by the police in his house, reminding jurors of the distrust between Maori and police in the area following the Tuhoe raids, 10 years ago.

He argued his actions were in self-defence, however the jury disagreed.

The Hui's special report into the shooting and trial interviewed Warren's mum, Te Araroa Wetini, who believes the whole situation could've been avoided had the police contacted her earlier, before the armed officers stormed her house.

"They made a big mistake - they should've have come in, they should've contacted the family first."

The whanau can't understand why tear gas or police dogs weren't used to clear the house.

A police report into the siege heavily criticised the police tactics used.


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