Jury sent home for the night in trial of man accused of shooting police

The jury has been sent home for the night after starting to consider its verdicts this afternoon in the case of a man on trial for shooting four police officers in the Bay of Plenty.

Today Rhys Warren accused Crown prosecutors and the judiciary of colluding with police officers in an effort to stitch him up.

Warren, who is representing himself, made the comments in a closing address to jurors in the High Court in Hamilton.

The 28-year-old faces six charges, including attempted murder, after shooting at armed offenders squad members who entered his family's Bay of Plenty house in March last year.

He admits to firing at some of the men but maintains he didn't know they were police officers.

Rhys Warren, defending himself, said it was never his intention for someone to get hurt. Source: 1 NEWS

"The Crown have come up with a big cover up story to make up for the way they came into my nan’s house and misbehaved.”

He said the judge, prosecutor and police were all paid by the Crown and were united in their intent to have him convicted.

"They've been playing this game for decades," he said.

"You see how heavily stacked the odds are against me today?"

He said the Officer-In-Charge had tampered with evidence and compared the case to that of Arthur Allan Thomas, who was pardoned after it was found police had planted evidence to frame him.

Warren told jurors he shot at the police out of fear for his own life.

"I did not intend to shoot the officer or anyone, let alone kill them."

The Crown says the Armed Offenders Squad members had appealed to Warren on a loudspeaker to come out of the house before entering.

The officers were dispatched to the rural property after colleagues on a routine cannabis spotting operation were shot at earlier in the day.

Deliberations will resume tomorrow.

'They are legends' - beachgoer, surfers save life of woman swept out to sea off Waikato coast

Good Samaritans saved the life of a woman swept out to sea at Port Waikato this afternoon and are "legends", says a police officer.

Sergeant Jonathan Cheeseman says police received a call at 1.37pm to say two swimmers were in trouble in the water at Sunset Beach. 

A 20-year-old man had entered the water and got into trouble and a 20-year-old woman had gone into help him.  

The man was able to make his way back to shore but the woman was swept further out to sea.

A 43-year-old member of the public who was also at the beach saw what was happening and went to assist, Mr Cheesman said. 

"The Good Samaritan swam out to the woman in trouble, who was in a lot of trouble and unable to keep herself afloat." 

He supported her and kept her head above water while waiting for help.   

Two male surfers, aged 18 and 19 came to their assistance and bought the pair back to shore on their boards. 

"These Good Samaritans have initiated, coordinated and performed the rescue and there is no doubt they have saved the woman's life.  They are legends," Mr Cheeseman said.

The woman was originally in a critical condition but has since been downgraded to a serious condition.  

She was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Sunset beach, near Port Waikato Source: Gadfium/ Wikimedia Commons


TVNZ reveals significant news changes to grow coverage in the regions

TVNZ is planning significant changes within the 1 NEWS team, designed to bring more news stories from the regions while more effectively harnessing existing video resources.

CEO Kevin Kenrick announced the planned changes this afternoon, saying the moves were to build a sustainable future video content business for TVNZ in an ever-changing media market.

"The proposed changes have the potential to substantially change the way we gather our news content," Mr Kenrick said today.

Kevin Kenrick Source: 1 NEWS

"We plan to fully leverage emerging technology tools to bring our viewers more news from more places more efficiently.

"If these changes go ahead, we'll double our reporter bases from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to also include places like the Hawke's Bay, Tauranga, Central Otago, Nelson and Northland.

"At the same time, we're proposing to remove a number of the duplicated processes, systems and roles in our news bureaus.

"We're also looking to simplify our media operations processes, to distribute more news stories faster to our audiences."

The changes are expected to be confirmed by mid-April.

The refurbished TVNZ newsroom in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

They are part of a wide-ranging business review, with Mr Kenrick confirming more changes in other areas of TVNZ were likely within the next six months.

"Everyone knows that enormous change is happening in the media industry," he said.

"What we're doing is making sure every dollar we spend is focused on telling the local stories valued by our viewers while reducing costs in other areas of the business."

The changes announced today, in media operations and news, would cut some roles while also creating new ones. The overall impact would result in a reduction of staff overall.