A property owner who stabbed an intruder to death after he
chanced upon him on his rural South Auckland farm will not
face criminal charges.
David Cunningham, 40, was found dead at a Ramarama property
on August 27.
He had left his home in Drury about 10pm and died after an
altercation at the Ararimu Rd property about 1.30am.
Police later confirmed that Mr Cunningham died from stab
wounds, and said the four residents who lived at the property
where he died were co-operating with the homicide
investigation. They did not know the dead man.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch
revealed this week that the person who confronted Mr
Cunningham at the property and had the altercation with him
that led to the stabbing would not be charged.
"A thorough investigation has been conducted and the file
referred to the Auckland Crown Solicitor for review and legal
opinion," he said.
"For any criminal charges to be laid, police would need to be
satisfied that the property occupier who killed Mr Cunningham
was not acting in self-defence.
"After a review of the recommendations from the Auckland
Crown Solicitor, police have decided that there is
insufficient evidence to proceed with charges."
Mr Lynch said that because of a lack of evidence, the case
did not meet the legal requirements for initiating a criminal
"Accordingly no charges will be laid. [But] the decision
would be reviewed in the future should any new information be
Crown Solicitor Simon Moore, QC, said he could not comment on
the specifics of the case.
On their website, the New Zealand police offer advice on what
a person should and can do if they come across an intruder in
their home or on their property.
"Be prepared to physically defend yourself. The most
vulnerable parts of an attacker's body are the eyes, nose and
genital area," the website states.
"You are allowed to use force against your attacker when
defending yourself, but be aware that if you use something as
a weapon in self-defence, it could be turned against you."
Mr Cunningham's family were told of the decision before it
was made public.
"Understandably they are upset and police sympathise with
them," said Mr Lynch.
"Police have notified the coroner of the decision and are
unable to comment further on the circumstances surrounding Mr
Cunningham's death pending inquest proceedings."
Mr Cunningham had played for the Patumahoe Rugby Club, where
his funeral was held.
- Anna Leask of New Zealand Herald