Use of force during fatal shooting in Tauranga justified

IPCA

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police were justified in shooting Mr Anthony Fane following a pursuit, in which on five separate occasions he fired shots at four Armed Offender Squad (AOS) officers while driving in a highly populated area in Tauranga.

On 11 February 2020, Anthony Fane and his brother allegedly committed a double homicide at Omanawa Falls, Tauranga. Anthony Fane is also believed to have killed his partner on 9 February 2020. On 13 February 2020, four AOS officers in two separate vehicles were deployed on a ‘reassurance patrol’ in response to the double homicide.

At approximately 7.45pm they came across a Ford Falcon, registered to and being driven by Mr Fane. This vehicle was not included in the list of vehicles of interest connected to the homicides that the officers had been briefed on.

A pursuit ensued, during which Mr Fane fired shots at the AOS officers while driving through busy residential areas in Tauranga. At one point he stopped directly opposite a retirement home, got out of the Falcon, and fired directly at the officers’ in their cars. They did not return fire at this point.

The pursuit concluded on SH2, where Mr Fane came to a stop. At this point the officers believed Mr Fane was going to get out of the car and shoot at them again. Two of the officers fired a total of 49 rounds at Mr Fane before the Falcon began rolling forward into some bushes, where the officers found Mr Fane, who had died.

The Authority found that the officers were justified in shooting at Mr Fane under sections 39 and 48 of the Crimes Act 1961. Additionally, the Authority found that the information provided by Police intelligence to AOS, and general staff, was inadequate.

“The Authority considered that the AOS officers displayed a high level of professionalism in relation to this matter, and their concern as to the risk to life at the time was clear. We accept that their response to the circumstances in shooting at Mr Fane was the only available option given the risk he posed to them, other Police officers who may have come upon him, and members of the public. The officers’ intention was only ever to incapacitate Mr Fane to eliminate the risk he was posing. His death was a tragic, albeit foreseeable, consequence” said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

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