The scene of the Wellington gang house shooting. PHOTO/FILE
Mother unloads ‘banger’ at gang house
A mother of four, arrested in Carterton, has been found guilty of a shooting at a gang house in Wellington.
At a hearing in Wellington High Court, Justice Helen Cull found Meretiana Jacqueline Kopua, 33, guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and unlawfully carrying a firearm.
In a judge-alone trial, Cull said the timing of Kopua’s text messages requesting a “banger”, followed by a 111 call 21 minutes later, and Kopua’s urgent request to relocate to a bail address in Masterton was compelling evidence.
Kopua had pleaded not guilty to charges related to the Vogeltown shooting on July 25 last year.
The incident left Terryann Bush-Enoka, 41, with severe abdominal injuries and in a medically induced coma in Wellington Hospital.
Bullet fragments remain lodged in her hipbone.
The night before the shooting, a Mongrel Mob member celebrated his 21st birthday at the Vogeltown property, where Bush-Enoka said she had been drinking and had consumed methamphetamine.
The next day, Kopua, her aunt, and a man arrived at the property in a blue Altezza.
Kopua said the purpose of the visit was to recoup an $1100 debt.
Bush-Enoka and Kopua maintained they had not met before July 25, however, they “knew of” each other.
Bush-Enoka said she had apologised to Kopua for an incident at Kopua’s house some weeks before where a window was smashed and someone hit with a brick.
She said the apology was for it happening while a baby was present.
“You know, we don’t do that shit around kids.”
Kopua said she did not recall the apology, while Bush-Enoka said Kopua was quiet and went on her phone.
At 2.16pm Kopua sent the first text message saying “having demos with dogs”, meaning having drama with the Mongrel Mob.
A minute later, Kopua sent a second message “f*** u too I need u and that banger”.
Kopua said the texts were requests for back-up and that “banger” was slang for a Polynesian person.
Subsequently, a second car arrived at the property with a gun.
At 2.38pm the first of several 111 calls was made from the Vogeltown property, and a nurse who lived nearby provided first aid to Bush-Enoka until paramedics arrived.
On July 26, two detectives spoke to Bush-Enoka in hospital. She declined to make a statement but said “Meregirl” had shot her.
In her judgement, Cull said there was no dispute that “Meregirl” was Kopua’s nickname.
Days later, Kopua sought emergency relocation of her bail address to Masterton and on July 28, police found a .22 calibre round in her make-up bag.
The crown called four witnesses, including Bush-Enoka’s son, who said he had punched Kopua in the face after seeing his mum lying on the ground.
“At that stage, I didn’t know that she had been shot,” he said.
Giving evidence, Kopua admitted the situation at the Vogeltown property had become heated, and she was unable to obtain the money owed.
She also confirmed she was hit by one of Bush-Enoka’s sons but denied she had access to a gun or had shot Bush-Enoka.
Kopua said she “vaguely remembered hearing a pop-pop sort of sound” and saw Bush-Enoka lying on the ground.
She said the .22 calibre round found in her make-up bag was from the property in Masterton.
In her decision, Cull said the timing of Kopua’s texts followed by the arrival of a gun at the Vogeltown property was “more than a mere coincidence”.
She also dismissed Kopua’s assertion that “banger” referred to a Polynesian.
“The more likely and most probable meaning is that it referred to a firearm.”
Cull said Kopua’s claim that she found a .22 calibre at her new address three days after Bush-Enoka was shot was not credible.
She said she took into account the absence of forensic evidence linking the bullet and the firearm.
“[But] of course, the bullet used on the day of the shooting is still lodged in the hip bone of the complainant, and such a forensic connection is not possible.”
Cull said another strand of evidence was Kopua’s urgent request for emergency housing in Wairarapa, while alone it was not determinative of guilt, she said it added to the overall picture of Kopua’s involvement in the shooting.
She said Bush-Enoka’s intoxication at the time may have raised doubt about her reliability as a witness but ultimately found her evidence “raw but credible”.
Cull said she was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Kopua shot Bush-Enoka and intended to cause grievous bodily harm.
The less serious alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard for the safety of others was dismissed.
Kopua was remanded at large on existing bail conditions and ordered to reappear for sentencing in October.