The man who murdered undercover police officer Sergeant Don Wilkinson has been jailed for at least fifteen years.
On June 12 a jury found John Skinner guilty of murdering Sergeant Wilkinson during a covert police operation in September 2008.
Skinner was under police surveillance as a suspected P manufacturer and shot Sergeant Wilkinson with a powerful air rifle after catching him trying to install a tracking device on his Ford Explorer.
Skinner was also found guilty of attempting to murder another officer and of assault with a firearm.
Co-accused Iain Clegg was found not guilty of murder and attempted murder but guilty of manslaughter.
In the High Court at Auckland today, Justice Geoffrey Venning sentenced Skinner to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of fifteen years for Sgt Wilkinson's murder.
Additionally he was jailed for 10 years the attempted murder of the other officer and one year for assault with a firearm, with those terms to be served concurrently.
Justice Geoffrey Venning has been exceptionally charitable to Skinner and Clegg in our always-humble opinion. This was a cold-blooded execution of a police officer in the course of his duties. Surely, this was a case when not only the book should have been thrown at Skinner, but the bookshelf as well.
We reckon that the justice sustem has failed Sgt Don Wilkinson today. We hope that the Crown is considering an appeal against the leniency of this sentence.