“I aimed the rifle with the intent to shoot”
After fighting a balaclava-clad gunman who allegedly tried to kill him as he left his house for work, Karl Anders Nyman finally had the .22 rifle as his attacker turned and fled.
"I aimed the rifle with the intent to shoot the guy as he was running away. My partner shouted out of the window don't shoot him, the police are coming."
The events on Aspen Place in Rotorua in the early hours of July 31, 2002, were played out to a jury of eight women and four men at the High Court in Rotorua for the trial of the man the Crown allege attempted to kill Nyman that morning.
Warren Uata Kiwi, 58, is on trial facing two charges - attempted murder and conspiracy to murder.
He has entered pleas of not guilty to both charges.
At the first day of the trial on Wednesday, Crown lawyer Chris Macklin alleged the attempted killing had a price - five pounds of cannabis.
Macklin said a family dispute over shared land was the catalyst for the plot, which he said involved persons unknown - but who are subject to ongoing police investigations.
He also told the jury of the mistake he said led police to lay charges almost two decades after the attempt was made on Nyman's life.
Kiwi told someone.
"But for Mr Kiwi's admissions, the police would still themselves be at that dead-end they found themselves on that morning of 31 July, 2002."
He said Kiwi also admitted to his role at a later police interview, and the rifle used also pointed to his guilt.
"His father had a .22 rifle stolen from his farm - spoiler alert - later that rifle was recovered from the scene."
Kiwi's lawyer Gene Tomlinson also gave an opening address to the jury, describing the case as "a whodunnit".
He said the identity of the gunman would be the key issue, and he also questioned an eight-minute gap he said existed in the DVD of Kiwi's police interview.
He said during that time Kiwi was in the presence of two police officers.
"Unrecorded, there are no notes. After that eight minute gap Mr Kiwi's position changes and he says it's him."
The first of the 18 Crown witnesses to give evidence was Nyman, who described leaving his house at around 4am for his work as a truck driver, and being confronted by an armed, balaclava wearing man.
He said four words.
"Hold it right there."
Nyman said the gunman gestured with the weapon for them both to approach some bushes at the side of the house, the gun pointed directly at him.
"I'm saying who sent you, who sent you. He just told me to 'f... up' and turn around," Nyman said.
"I told him you either shoot me while I'm looking at you, because if I get that gun off you I'll shoot you. There was a bit of hesitancy on his part so I lunged at him."
Nyman then described a struggle with the gunman that took them both up and down his drive, each trying to get control of the weapon, before the gunman secured it forcing him to flee towards his house.
"[I] felt a bullet go through my arm as I turned onto the porch. I knew I'd been shot because it was a burning sensation, and blood."
He said he called for his partner to alert police and, as the gunman advanced, she turned on a porch light, a move he said temporarily blinded the man, allowing him to make a second lunge.
"Fighting all the way down the drive, he wasn't going to let the rifle go and I certainly wasn't."
He said at this point, the gunman also started apologising.
"Half a dozen times, sorry bro, wrong house, wrong street."
By this point however, Nyman had the rifle pointing under his attacker's chin.
"I was about to push my thumb into the trigger guard area, I didn't know whether there was a bullet in the breech, and I said to him you're on the wrong end of this f...... rifle and I'm going to shoot you."
He said the man somehow was able to wrestle the magazine out of the gun, apologise further, then flee.
"He was quite a tough fella, no mug, no pushover. I had to use everything I had."
Evidence was also given by Coral Therese Farrell, a distant relative of Kiwi's and the person to whom he is alleged to have revealed his involvement in a 2011 conversation.
She said they were in his kitchen and he'd made her a cup of tea when Nyman's name cropped up.
"He just said it was me, the shooter," she said.
"He just said it was me. I was stunned, I didn't believe it, at first."
Farrell said Kiwi told her he'd been asked by someone to "take Karl out because of the land [dispute]."
She also revealed Kiwi had set one condition himself when discussing the attempted murder with the conspirator.
"Is he [Nyman] a Māori or a pakeha, and [the co-conspiritor] said he's a pakeha."
She said Kiwi said he "doesn't go near Māoris" and believed he had been "set up" when on the morning of the attempted murder he realised Nyman was a Māori.
"He wanted to go and apologise," she said.
The trial is set to continue and is expected to conclude at the end of the week.