Man who lost eye in hunting incident says charges against shooter dropped due to police budget restraints

A man who lost his eye after being shot on a duck hunting trip by a fellow hunter says he feels let down by the system.

Today a charge of careless use of a firearm causing injury against the man, who has interim name suppression, was dropped.

Jim Morton told 1 NEWS today that the past year has been tough for him and his wife Jenny.

He has a glass eye and the pellet from the bullet is lodged just millimeters from his brain.

He has been unable to work for 11 months and struggles with balance.

He recently broke his ankle after falling over.

"The number of operations I've had, I've had a lot of work… co-ordination, lots of physio, lots of eye specialists."


The Crown told the court it was given an expert report that was reviewed by ERS, and that it didn't meet evidence threshholds for prosecution to continue.

But Mr Morton thinks the reason charges were dropped comes down to funding.

1 NEWS has obtained a recording of a meeting between Jim Morton and police prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk.

Mr Vanderkolk said in the recording that there is no money in the police budget to retain an expert, stating police have a limited budget and much of the ESR budget has been used on homicides in the central region.

But he today distanced himself from those comments and told 1 NEWS it came down to evidence.

"I think it would be irresponsible to take it to jury trial when you don't have evidence there is no public interest in having a trial just because we want to."

In a written statement Detective Inspector Ross McKay said:

"In respect of the case before the court, Police can say that the decisions made were based on evidential sufficiency.

"An expert was not requested or declined. The defence submission was reviewed by a leading ballistics expert and it was decided that the findings could not be refuted.

"Central District has a forensic budget, which is sufficiently adequate to service all of its forensic and investigative needs."

The Crown says there was insufficient evidence, but Jim Morton says a lack of funding is behind the decision. Source: 1 NEWS



Supporters call for fair trial for Sri Lankan university student held on terror charges in Australia

Family members, human rights activists and civic groups have gathered in Colombo to demand a speedy and fair investigation of a Sri Lankan student detained in Australia on suspicion of terrorism.

The New South Wales police website says Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney on August 30 for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Police say they found the alleged plans described in a notebook.

A support group, United for Kamer, planned a silent protest today to support their call for a fair trial for the 25-year-old student.

The group says Nizamdeen was working for the University of New South Wales and has been kept in solitary confinement since his arrest.

It says Nizamdeen denies what police say he wrote in the notebook.

A statement from the family read out at the protest said Kamer was allowed to contact one family member immediately after the arrest but thereafter denied access to legal counsel or family members.

The protesters silently held placards and banners with slogans about Kamer's innocence as well as the investigation.

Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney last month for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Source: Associated Press


Homeless man charged with US murder of top amateur Spanish golfer, whose body was found in course pond

A homeless man attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round alone near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, police said today.

Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University. He was ordered jailed today on a $7 million, cash-only bond.

Barquin was found yesterday morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 50 kilometres north of Des Moines.

Police were called to the course around 10.20am to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.

Officers found Barquin's body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

Barquin, the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the year, had no known prior relationship with Richards, Ames police Commander Geoff Huff said.

Richards, who faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted, reported in a financial affidavit that he has no job.

"We have had encounters with him in the past, " Huff told reporters at a news conference today.

"I don't have any specifics on him no about criminal record or how many incidents we've had with him."

The university said Barquin, a native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.

Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was "deeply saddened" by Barquin's death.

She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history. In April, she became the second women's golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.

It is the second fatal stabbing of a female student in Iowa in recent months.

An immigrant from Mexico is charged in the July 18 kidnapping and stabbing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished while out for a run in the small town of Brooklyn.

Celia Barquin Arozamena was playing a round in central Iowa when she was allegedly attacked by Collin Daniel Richards. Source: Associated Press

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South Auckland charity The Aunties takes home top Women of Influence Award

The founder of a South Auckland charity group dubbed The Aunties has won the top honour at the Women of Influence Awards.

Jackie Clark set up the not-for-profit organisation six years ago to help vulnerable women and children who've experienced domestic violence.

The group's primary aim is to provide material needs to those they support.

"The Aunties believe everyone has the right to be safe, to have shelter, to be fed, to be loved, to dream, to read, to write, to have their say, and to be heard," the group proclaims on its Givealittle page. "Where any of those things are missing, the Aunties mission is to help provide them - the practical things, and also in terms of advocacy and pastoral care."

The group says it believes in manaakitanga - protecting the mana of the people they help so that they can find their way towards living independently, and with dignity and joy.

"Jackie and her fellow Aunties give without seeking anything in return and without judgement," said Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean, whose company co-sponsors the Women of Influence Awards. "She, and her core of other Aunties, ask vulnerable women what they need and then set about making it happen, in a completely selfless way.

"They have made an enormous contribution to our local communities at grassroots level."

The award ceremony was held last night at SkyCity in Auckland.

Here's the full list of winners:
Supreme Winner: Jackie Clark
Lifetime Achievement: Theresa Gattung
Arts and Culture: Miranda Harcourt
Board and Management: Dr Farah Palmer
Business and Enterprise: Angie Judge
Rural: Rebecca Keoghan
Public Policy: Charlotte Korte
Community/Not for Profit: Jackie Clark
Innovation and Science: Professor Wendy Larner
Diversity: Sarah Lang
Global: Sarah Vrede
Young Leader: Maddison McQueen-Davies

Jackie Clark set up the non-for-profit six years ago, which aims to help vulnerable women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Source: Breakfast


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Around 360 Glenorchy homes still without power 48 hours after early spring snowfall

The Glenorchy township in Central Otago is still without power 48 hours after a spring snowfall caused major disruptions in the deep south.

Around 360 households have been affected.

Aurora Energy is hoping to have power restored to the area by this evening.

Around 360 households in the central Otago town are affected, with Aurora Energy hoping to have electricity back on by this evening. Source: Breakfast

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS