Thursday, July 18, 2024

Killer given life in jail for shooting death

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Desmond Lawrence Bourne, 48, was today sentenced by Justice Timothy Brewer in the High Court at Auckland to life imprisonment. Photo NZ Police

A murderer who went to primary school in east Auckland was today sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting and killing another man during a drug deal.

Desmond Lawrence Bourne, 48, had been found guilty by jury on one charge of murder and one charge of wounding with reckless disregard.

The maximum penalty for murder is life imprisonment and for wounding with reckless disregard it is seven years’ imprisonment.

Bourne, who is understood to have gone to Mellons Bay Primary School and Bucklands Beach Intermediate, was today sentenced by Justice Timothy Brewer in the High Court at Auckland to life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 12 years for the murder of Zane Smith in 2020 in Wellsford.

On the charge of wounding “one of your group” Scott Fowles with reckless disregard, Bourne was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently with the murder sentence.

“You shot and killed Zane Smith. As I will come to, my conclusion is that you did that deliberately,” Justice Brewer said.

“You have just heard from victims of your offending who were members of Mr Smith’s family. Their grief and anger are completely understandable. They spoke with great dignity, and I commend them for that. As they said, you have taken from them something that can never be restored: Mr Smith’s life.”

Justice Brewer said the essential elements of the charges he is satisfied were proved reveal that on November 28, 2020, Bourne and others decided to buy methamphetamine for their own use. They pooled money and one of their group, Scott Fowles, arranged the exchange. The supplier of the methamphetamine was to be Zane Smith, the deceased.

“You and Mr Smith knew each other. You had previously supplied Mr Smith with GBL, a class B controlled drug,” the judge said.

“There was a dispute over the payment for the drug. Mr Smith maintained that the drug was of poor quality and in the end refused to pay the final $1000 of your price. There was evidence that, at least on the surface, you had accepted that situation. In my view, you harboured a resentment.

“You and Mr Fowles went to meet Mr Smith to buy the methamphetamine. Mr Fowles drove your vehicle with you as passenger. That was because you were very intoxicated. You had consumed the better part of a bottle of whisky and you had also been consuming drugs.”
Fowles had some concern about whether there was still bad blood between Bourne and Mr Smith. He had arranged initially for the drug deal to occur at a public place, Centennial Park, partly because that would lessen the chance of confrontation.

“For some reason, Mr Smith did not come to Centennial Park but instead contacted Mr Fowles and arranged for the drug deal to take place at the intersection of Wayby Station Road and McPherson Way [Wellsford].

“With Mr Fowles continuing to drive, you arrived at that meeting place at about 7.20pm. Mr Smith arrived shortly afterwards at about 7.30pm and parked his vehicle near yours but facing away at an angle. Mr Fowles told you to stay in your vehicle. He got out and walked to Mr Smith’s vehicle and got into the front passenger seat.”

Shortly afterwards, Bourne got out of the vehicle and got a firearm which he kept under the back seat. It was a high calibre weapon which could fire on a semi-automatic setting.

“You approached Mr Smith’s vehicle from the driver’s side. Both Mr Fowles and Mr Smith were seated in the front and Mr Smith was still wearing his seatbelt. You shouted to Mr Smith, “where the f*** is my money?” You approached the driver’s side window, where Mr Smith was seated, and yelled again, “where the f*** is my money?” Justice Brewer said.

“You then fired into the front of the vehicle. Your shot went through the driver’s side window, taking fragments of the glass with it. The bullet did not strike either of the men.”

Fowles received wounds consistent with fragmentation. One fragment lodged in his chest. Momentarily stunned by the event, and bleeding, Fowles quickly scrambled out of the front passenger seat and ran off down the road.

As he was running, he heard Bourne fire further shots.

The evidence is that there was a distinct pause between Bourne firing the first shot and then beginning to fire further shots.

“You fired a further four shots after the pause,” Justice Brewer said.

“They were all angled towards the front cab of Mr Smith’s vehicle. The fatal shot was fired from a different angle to the other three. It was almost square on to the front driver’s door. You did not fire from point blank range but you were, at most, a few metres away. The fatal shot went through the door and struck Mr Smith.

“Your defence was that you were so intoxicated that you have no memory as to how you got to the intersection. Your few coherent memories, you say, are of being attacked by Mr Fowles while you were still in your vehicle.

“Your previous dealings with gang members made you think that your life was in danger and so you grabbed the weapon and just fired it blindly in the direction of Mr Smith’s vehicle without knowing who was in it. Your evidence was you had no intention of hurting anyone, let alone killing them.

“The jury rejected this defence and, in my view, on the evidence, there was no reasonable possibility of excessive self-defence. In my view, the evidence was overwhelming that you knew it was Mr Smith in the front seat of his vehicle; that having shot once you then paused and fired again four times at Mr Smith intending to kill him.”

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