'Oh my God, not guilty': The father and son who chopped off teen burglar's finger in bungled home invasion

Open Justice,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 May 2022, 4:35pm

'Oh my God, not guilty': The father and son who chopped off teen burglar's finger in bungled home invasion

Open Justice,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 May 2022, 4:35pm

A jury has found a Piopio father and son not guilty of an attack that saw the tip of a teen burglar's little finger chopped off in a bungled home invasion. 

William "Bill" Burr and son, Shaun, were found not guilty on all charges by a jury this afternoon. 

The pair were found not guilty on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, or wounding with intent to injure in the alternative in relation to attacking the boy with a stick as he lay on the floor. 

They also face a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm or maiming with intent to injure after chopping off the tip of the boy's little finger. 

Burr snr faced extra charges of assaulting a woman, for kicking the teen girl in the head on the floor and injuring with intent to injure for allegedly stomping on the back of the boy as he lay on the floor. 

The jury of three women and nine men spent 45 minutes deliberating yesterday before retiring and resuming at 10.40am today. 

They returned with their unanimous verdicts at 3.45pm in front of a packed public gallery of the Burr family and supporters. 

The teen boy had the tip of his little finger chopped off by the pair after he and his girlfriend broke into Burr snr's home about 1.45am on October 1, 2020. 

The Crown said it was aggressive violence with the pair acting out of revenge for what the teen had put Burr snr through that night and in previous burglaries. 

The defence contends the situation was far from being under control and the teen constantly posed a threat as he lay with a knife on the floor. 

Before the verdicts were read, nervous family waited anxiously as Shaun Burr's partner held their children and wept silently. 

The father and son returned to the packed public gallery after being discharged, to hugs and handshakes. 

"Oh my God, not guilty," one family member uttered. 

There were tears and congratulations as the group waited for Justice Powell to discharge the jury. 

The relief was palpable. 

'What happened?' 

For the past six days, the jury has heard detailed accounts about what is alleged to have happened inside the Napinapi Rd home. 

King Country farmer William Burr, known as Bill, had three times been the victim of the burglar - each time he broke into Burr's home to get the keys for his car from his Te Mapara home on separate occasions. 

This time, fuelled with Cody's bourbon and cannabis, the 17-year-old took his then-girlfriend - both of whom have name suppression due to their age at the time - to Burr's house in the early hours. 

The teen had been bailed to an Auckland property on charges from a burglary of Burr's home the week before and was driven down by his girlfriend's cousins. 

The pair went into Burr snr's bedroom after being unable to find the keys elsewhere in the house. 

There, the teen girl hit him over the head; she would say once, he says twice, and a fight erupted lasting approximately eight minutes. 

Burr snr then managed to turn the light on and said he'd give up, and hand over the keys which he told the boy were on top of the microwave. 

He sat exhausted on the end of the bed, naked, next to the teen girl. He told her he was going to put on some clothes and she left. 

He testified that it was then he grabbed his shotgun from his ensuite, marched down the hallway, and pointed it at the pair as they stood in the kitchen. 

They both immediately dropped to the floor and Burr snr said he set about calling various people, including 111, his son, his neighbour, and local police constable Tony Schrafft. 

Shaun Burr arrived and it was then he set about striking the teen, on instruction from his father, as he believed he was trying to get up off the ground. 

Burr jnr struck him with one "beautiful" punch, he said, which sent him to the floor. 

Burr snr says there were then multiple occasions where the boy was lashing out and trying to stand up, as he held a knife which he feared was going to be used on them. 

Annoyed that he kept getting up, he says he warned the boy that if he didn't show his left hand that he would cut it off. 

Still refusing to put both hands out in front of him, he asked Burr jnr to cut him, to which he made a small cut to his finger. 

The boy still refused to show his hands and it's then that Burr snr instructed his son to chop it off – which Burr jnr did. 

- by Belinda Feek, Open Justice