Convicted killer loses appeal

One of two gang members convicted of bludgeoning a man to death with a hammer has lost his latest appeal bid.

Mikhail Pandey-Johnson and Karl Nuku were found guilty in the High Court at New Plymouth in June 2011 of the murder of 38-year-old Auckland man Dean Browne in the "body-in-the-garage" trial.

Mr Browne died in a Wellington flat on January 21, 2010 after being repeatedly struck on his head with a claw hammer.

Before he died, Mr Browne was given morphine to ease his pain by another person.

Pandey-Johnson and Nuku were both members of the gang the Killer Clown Fiends.

They received life sentences with a minimum non-parole period of 18 years.

Both men appealed against their conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal last October, but their appeals were dismissed.

Pandey-Johnson then appealed to the same court to have the judgement recalled.

A Court of Appeal judgement released today said one of the grounds of his appeal was the Crown had failed to prove causation of Mr Browne's death and there was a reasonable possibility the victim had died as a result of the morphine rather than the hammer blows.

However, Justices Terence Arnold, Pamela Andrews and Robert Dobson said they were satisfied there were no "exceptional circumstances" warranting the case to be reopened.

They dismissed Pandey-Johnson's application to have the judgement recalled.


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