Tolley brushes off OFCANZ blunders
Police Minister Anne Tolley
Police Minister Anne Tolley is defending the Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ) after a series of gaffes, including a fake prosecution that saw a judge throw out charges against 21 gang members.
Justice Simon France has issued a stay of proceedings on drugs and criminal group charges against the members of the Red Devils Motorcycle Club, after police were revealed to have brought a fake prosecution against an undercover officer posing as a bikie.
They used a fake warrant to search the undercover officer's lock-up, and then laid false charges against the officer in an attempt to give him more credibility with the motorcycle club he was infiltrating.
OFCANZ also organised the raid on internet piracy-accused millionaire Kim Dotcom's mansion in January, but a judge later ruled the search warrants in that case were illegal.
Both operations were headed by Detective Inspector Grant Wormald.
However, Mrs Tolley says she has no concerns about OFCANZ's operations.
"I certainly back the police who are out there, trying to bring these criminals to justice, and they have to stay one step ahead. These are very sophisticated people acting outside the law," she said.
Asked whether OFCANZ was operating without regard for due process, Mrs Tolley replied: "the reality is police take over 130,000 prosecutions through our court system every year. Some of them are simple, some of them are complex".
"We cannot tie both hands behind their backs and expect them to be able to break into and break up these very sophisticated criminal organisations."
It has been revealed the police manual at the time of the fake prosecution said "police must not allow an arrested agent to appear under a fictitious name without the permission of the court. Deceiving the court is not permitted".
The manual has since changed but Mrs Tolley said she did not know whether that section was now different.
Mrs Tolley says she will not consider an investigation into OFCANZ while police are yet to decide whether to appeal Justice France's ruling.