Police committed fraud in court - judge
Wed, 24 Oct 2012 6:02p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Police have taken a dressing down from a High Court judge who has thrown out a raft of charges against a Nelson motorcycle gang.
That's because police abused process and their powers, and in the words of the judge, committed "a fraud on the courts".
And the operation was overseen by the same police agency involved in the botched case against internet tycoon Kim Dotcom.
A dawn raid on the Red Devils' headquarters in Nelson last year was a show of force by police, after an undercover officer infiltrated the inner circle of the gang - a feeder to the feared Hells Angels.
It was a strike against organised crime with lots of arrests, which police celebrated.
But it’s the gang that is celebrating now because 21 of its members and associates have had charges of organised crime thrown out, after a court ruled police bungled the operation.
The operation, called Operation Explorer, involved undercover officer 'Michael Wiremu Wilson' infiltrating Red Devils. Police then orchestrated his false arrest and a false search warrant to boost the undercover officer’s criminal credentials.
Today Justice Simon France ruled the police ruse was an "abuse of process".
“One looks at it as a fraud committed upon the courts,” he said. "I see the actions of the police in this case as involving serious misuse of the court, and a troubling misunderstanding of its functions.”
The operation was run by elite police unit the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ), which also botched the raid on Dotcom.
Detective Inspector Grant Wormald had a lead role in both.
Police Minister Anne Tolley is unhappy with the outcome.
“I'm just disappointed that gang members have not been brought to justice.”
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says Justice France made the right decision.
“If the police start playing fast and loose with the courts they are fundamentally undermining the rule of law, and in this case it's worked out pretty badly for them.”
The fake arrest of undercover officer is believed to be a first, and almost certainly a last.
OFCANZ is getting attention for all the wrong reasons, and sources say at police national headquarters people have jokingly nicknamed it "Occasionally Finding Criminals Across New Zealand".
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31/10/2012 12:11:57 p.m.
Will we see all the corrupt police involved in this episode actually charged? If you or I attempted to do as these have done I don't think there is any doubt as to whether or not we'd be locked up.
What's good for the goose, etc.
29/10/2012 6:32:48 p.m.
John C wrote:
When you live on a different planet, there is bound to be a clash of interests. The whole judicial system has a huge job to restore a sense of confidence with many citizens; give the police a break; how else can they do their often very dangerous job? The biggest problem could be the PC hangers-on who due to their self-interests try to shoot down the Police at every opportunity
29/10/2012 1:54:48 p.m.
carlos & ernst maybe you don't care how the cops get evidence or how, but isn't that what happened in nazi germany to some degree?. The police have a job to do,but doing it by illegal means is abhorrant. Yes maybe the gang did get off for the moment but if the cops did things properly then they would be getting praise for a job well done. You shouldn't get a prize for cheating, just ask lance armstrong and that russian woman who got the gold instead of valerie adams on the day. cops can do good work without resorting to underhand tactics, but it seems lately there have been more and more botched cases.
29/10/2012 12:26:38 p.m.
Daniel are you suggesting the law should be changed allowing the police to commit fraud ?
28/10/2012 5:07:09 p.m.
Daniel Lang wrote:
Since 2008, National have made progressive inroads into prosecuting gang members but without the corresponding legislation that would make it easier for the police to achieve that aim. Therefore, we are still stuck, legislatively, in the Clark era, and a lot of cases are costing thousands of dollars only to be dismissed. National made a good effort by toughening up on bail but they need to continue this legacy if they are to achieve their desired results.
28/10/2012 10:17:52 a.m.
I agree with Carlos. Let us hope this knock back makes the Police more determined to apprehend this scum and make sure they are punished. Gangs set up to commit crimes should be illegal.
25/10/2012 3:23:27 p.m.
As long as they are eradicating scum from our streets, I don't care how they do it !
25/10/2012 1:58:41 p.m.
I think some of you are missing the point, the police cannot break the law to uphold the law, the implications are simply staggering. Just think of all the present cases in court if the defendants lawyers imply wrong doing by the police they don't even have to prove it because there is now a precedent, and the people already serving time for an offence, I should imagine they will all be contacting lawyers and claiming the police broke the law to find evidence against them, this isn't a simple case of the police using whatever means to get their person. I also cast my mind back to Arthur Alan Thomas and David Bayne, who is to say the police did everything by the book there, everything the police have done and will do is now going to be under suspicion, it will now be more difficult to "put someone away" because the evidence of the police will now be scrutinzied so closely it will clog up the court system. Don't forget it is fraud and forgery, other people go to prison for that.
25/10/2012 12:08:26 p.m.
Nobodies missing the point.
The court has just made the point.
It is totally unacceptable for the police to break the laws of New Zealand for ANY reason....full stop.
This all comes on the back of the illegal survielance carried out in the Tama iti saga, the illegal surveilance and the raid and unlawfull seizure of property in the Dot com case.
The police have been opperating with a law unto themselves, wink wink, culture.
They are too busy looking for big high profile media shows, instead of good old fashioned policing.
People should be held accountable, and charged and bouhjt before a court, with any criminal offence committed, the same as any other New Zealander who commits an offence.
25/10/2012 10:41:18 a.m.
NZ Gestapolice wrote:
Zero tolerance to police fraud and police crime. This country is turning into a corrupt police state where the police act unlawfully. Good on Justice France and Justice Winkelman (re Dotcom) for not bowing to the police.
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