Man accused of New Zealand police killing appears in court

WELLINGTON (AFP) – A man charged with the murder of an unarmed policeman that shocked New Zealand made a brief court appearance in Auckland yesterday.

Constable Matthew Hunt, 28, was gunned down during a routine traffic stop on Friday and the killing has stunned the normally peaceful country where police do not routinely carry firearms.

He is the 23rd officer to be shot dead in the line of duty in New Zealand since 1890, with the last fatal shooting more than 10 years ago.

All details surrounding the identity of the 24-year-old arrested man were suppressed. He spoke briefly to confirm his name but otherwise remained silent and did not enter a plea during the brief hearing in which he was remanded in custody to reappear early next month.

The man appeared via video link from another part of the courthouse due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

A 30-year-old woman has also been taken into custody and will appear in court tomorrow.

Police said she was wanted as an accessory after the fact to the murder and was arrested without incident yesterday afternoon.