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Woman Fails To Appear For Sentence Over Motorway Shooting

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, June 25 NZPA - A woman involved in the lead-up to the fatal police shooting of an innocent man on an Auckland motorway in January failed to show up today for sentencing.

The non-appearance of Margaret Patricia Iris Mann, 19, in Waitakere District Court resulted in a warrant being issued for her arrest.

Police say Mann was an accomplice of Stephen Hohepa McDonald, 50, who was pursued by police at high speed from west Auckland to the North-western Motorway.

The pursuit ended on the motorway, where a courier driver, Halatau Naitako, 17, died from a bullet to the chest after being caught in police crossfire as McDonald allegedly tried to hijack a truck.

In February, Mann pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the events of January 23 -- unlawfully getting into a stolen vehicle, failing to stop for police and driving while forbidden.

She also pleaded guilty to two other charges for previous offences.

Mann was remanded originally in custody to await sentencing, but was later given bail.

McDonald faces more than 30 charges relating to the January 23 incident, including firing at police, possessing a firearm, aggravated robbery and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.

He reappeared in Auckland District Court on Tuesday, when his lawyer, Roger Chambers, was granted a new hearing date next month to allow him more time to negotiate with prosecutors.

Mr Chambers said he hoped the case could be settled without a trial.

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