Police were refused an arrest warrant when a man allegedly shot in a gang incident on March 30 failed to appear on other charges at the Christchurch District Court today because of his injuries.
The man, William Louis Ratima, 49, was hit with a shotgun blast in an incident in Hornby, and was found wounded in the street after emergency services were called. Police said the incident was gang-related.
He has remained in hospital until last Friday when he was discharged, but defence counsel Lee Lee Heah said he was still in a lot of pain and unable to get to the Court House. He was also unable to arrange a medical certificate for the court.
She asked for a remand without his appearance, and without plea, but the police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Scott said police sought an arrest warrant anyway.
He asked for a warrant that could “lie in court” – without being executed – until Wednesday to give Ratima a chance to produce the necessary medical certificate.
Miss Heah said she had been able to confirm by searching online that a person of Ratima’s age had been shot in an incident on the day he had indicated to her.
“It would be a pretty extreme thing to make up,” said Judge Paul Kellar.
The probation officer in court and the police prosecutor then also confirmed that Ratima had been wounded.
A 32-year-old labourer, Paul Leslie Stockford, has been charged with firing a shotgun at him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and has been remanded in custody for an appearance by video-link on April 24.
Judge Kellar said today it would be “churlish” to issue an arrest warrant for Ratima in the circumstances, when he made no appearance on two charges of driving without a licence, and unlawfully taking a car.
Rather than issuing a warrant, he remanded the case to April 26, without Ratima’s appearance, but said he must produce a medical certificate on that day.