The Dim-Post

October 25, 2012

Small thought experiment

Filed under: crime — danylmc @ 6:44 am

Every now and then, teachers or members of the public service make stupid mistakes, or break the law and get caught. Now, wouldn’t it be weird if every time that happened, the head of the PPTA or the Public Service Union came out fighting in their defense and argued that members or their union should be completely unaccountable and above the law?

The reason I ask is because that’s the perennial position of Greg O’Connor, head of the Police Association. This time around the police organised crime unit defrauded a district court during an investigation into a gang, forcing the judge to drop charges against 21 gang members. O’Connor is outraged . . . at the judge.

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91 Comments »

  1. What astonishes me is the police association still has him as it’s head. What does that say about it’s membership? If he was dumped form being head of the NZPA, It isn’t as if he couldn’t find gainful employment somewhere else where he would be completely at home – like Fiji or as a spokesperson for the Israeli Army, to give but two examples.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 25, 2012 @ 7:13 am

  2. Isn’t that his job though to stick up for his members. Whether he agrees with their actions or not. Perhaps his methods of sticking up for his members are not perhaps alligned with many of our politics – but you cant’ fault him for trying. Or can you…

    Comment by L — October 25, 2012 @ 7:36 am

  3. O’connors usual default answer to any question is that the police should be armed,

    Comment by frank_db — October 25, 2012 @ 7:41 am

  4. Wouldn’t it be weird if every time a guilty person went to court someone in wig stood up and said he actually wasn’t guilty and in fact someone else did it and he has been set up by the police.

    Or wouldn’t it be weirder if people were paid to speak on behalf of or promote a political party, even though they personally didn’t agree with every single policy they were spruiking…

    Comment by insider — October 25, 2012 @ 8:15 am

  5. He’s doing his job as head of a union. A union is there to support its members when they get into trouble. Their job is not to decide in any particular instance if a member is at fault. That’s a matter for whatever agency is determining the case.

    Most workers aren’t in a position to hirer expensive lawyers. Unlike gangs.

    wouldn’t it be weird if every time that happened,

    it would be weird if that were the case but even with O’Connor it’s not. He’s been vocal on a number of occasions where he feels he should support his members but not in every instance of police getting into trouble.

    In this case he’s arguing the police had the go ahead from the Chief District Court of the time. Personally I would have thought that any judge involved should have been informed but perhaps that was something for the Chief District Court to consider.

    Comment by NeilM — October 25, 2012 @ 8:27 am

  6. Who’s to say he doesn’t believe what he says, insider?

    O’Conner certainly comes across as rabidly sincere whenever he opens his yap.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 25, 2012 @ 8:33 am

  7. Why are you righties even bothering to defend O’Conner? The guy is a dangerous authoritarian whose reflexive and unreasoning defense of any police stuff-up is contributing significantly to the growing number of ill-disciplined and downright illegal police actions as they increasingly seem to consider themselves above the law. Mind you, that is a mindset not just encouraged by O’Conner but also a media and political climate which now has practically zero critical oversight of the police. The media nowadays acts mainly as cheerleaders for the law and order lobby and the minister of police has been reduced to being little more than a spokesperson for the police. An ill-disciplined force is an ineffective force, and O’Conner is quite simply hell bent on reducing our police force to a rabble.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 25, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  8. If O’Connor is a cheerleader for his organisation’s members when they act for good or ill, then more power to him. My own view is that a blanket “we do no wrong and admit to nothing” approach has a diminishing return, such that you come to discount his every statement on everything without actually bothering to listen to what he actually is saying.

    What I do find weird, however, is how often he is turned to by the media for his opinion on crime policy/prison policy as if he were an authoritative and informed source instead of a voice for a sectoral interest group. I mean, interviewing O’Conner on changes to bail rules or parole conditions is like asking the Secretary of the EPMU what he thinks about raising the minimum wage or extending parental leave. Which is fine if you counter-balance it with an employer’s rep to tell you the other side … but more often than not O’Conner gets given a sole platform on the basis that he just knows about the issues.

    Comment by Flashing Light — October 25, 2012 @ 8:57 am

  9. Why wasn’t the High Court judge also criticial of the Chief District Court Judge who gave the OK to the police to go ahead with their plans? The police didn’t act in isolation on this.

    Even so, it sounds like the police completely bolloxed their efforts against the Red Devils – and they should rightly be criticised for it.

    Comment by Ataahua — October 25, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  10. Judging by these two cases routinely arming police officers would be a disaster – the amount of self-inflicted foot injuries would be enormous.

    And ACC and the Health system would collapse under the number of claims/surgeries required – a point that should be raised with the Treasury mandarins to make sure arming the police never happens.

    Oh and to respond to Ataahua – the police lied/didn’t tell the full story to the chief District Court Judge as well. SO he’s not to blame.

    Comment by Conrad — October 25, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  11. “He’s doing his job as head of a union. A union is there to support its members when they get into trouble.”

    Surely this is only completely the case if the union fully believes that the member did nothing wrong. To me, support from a union only needs to ensure that members get proper representation to ensure they’re not being treated unfairly. The union represents other members too, and Greg O’Connor’s speaking for all members when he says that what was done by Police was good and reasonable, even though the court’s decided the law was broken. If that’s really what all police think then he’s doing his job.

    But if a police officer had killed a 4 year old attending kindergarten in cold blood in front of 200 witnesses, I wouldn’t expect a union to stand up for them beyond making sure they had a proper lawyer and weren’t being mistreated.

    Comment by izogi — October 25, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  12. it sounds like the police completely bolloxed their efforts against the Red Devils

    it’s a stay of procedings at present so I presume the charges could still go ahead. counterfactual alert – since the police thought their undercover agent was about to be unmasked then had they not acted as they had then they may not have been able to lay charges at all.

    From the report:

    Justice France said he believed police thought they were acting legitimately

    The police thought they had permission at the District Court level but this was over-ruled in the High Court. Perrhaps there needs to be greater co-ordination between the various arms of the judicary and the police when constructing these false backgrounds.

    Comment by NeilM — October 25, 2012 @ 9:38 am

  13. We fear that police could lay false evidence, like planting cartridge cases, in order to get a conviction. We hope that this would not happen in NZ. But if the police can bring deliberately false charges through the court, it would be a small step for mankind for them to do so to you, or worse still me. “Creative,” police as O’Connor said yesterday.

    Comment by xianmac — October 25, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  14. Justice France said he believed police thought they were acting legitimately, but a letter police gave to Judge Johnston about the situation would have been “wholly inadequate” to alert him to the realities of what was involved.

    The Justice is saying that the letter given by the police to the Judge seeking approval for this little scheme, was ” “wholly inadequate” with regard informing that judge about what it is they were up to.

    And if they really did believe they had judicial blessing for this caper, why the need to forge a court document?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 25, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  15. Good on them. Who knew the police could be so inventive?

    Comment by Dan — October 25, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  16. Yeah, like izogi says, if a teacher gets hauled up before the teachers council, the union’s role is to ensure they have adequate support to ensure a fair process, not advocating that they should be allowed to break the rules.

    Comment by richdrich — October 25, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  17. But they broke the law in GOOD FAITH! How could the police be expected to do their job if they have to act legally all the time, and always tell the truth when testifying under oath?

    But if a police officer had killed a 4 year old attending kindergarten in cold blood in front of 200 witnesses
    Depends. Did the officer shoot the 4-year-old in good faith?

    What I do find weird, however, is how often he is turned to by the media for his opinion on crime policy/prison policy as if he were an authoritative and informed source instead of a voice for a sectoral interest group.

    I did see the Com-Post describe O’Connor as “a union leader” the other day.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 25, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  18. The police thought they had permission at the District Court level

    My recollection is that they set up the show-trial first, then found a retired District Court judge from whom to seek retrospective clearance, only telling him part of the story.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 25, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  19. not advocating that they should be allowed to break the rules.

    he’s not advocating breaking the rules he’s pointing out they approached the Chief District Court Judge at the time for permision, thought they had it, but now a higher court judge as found otherwise.

    The reporting is unclear but it appears the protocols were changed just after this, hopefully makign it clearer.

    Comment by NeilM — October 25, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  20. er the protocols weren’t changed in the way you want them to have been: lying to the court has always been an abuse of process.

    Comment by J Lee — October 25, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  21. What many (especially in the blue-rinse suburbs) do not realise is how thin the respect for the police is among very large swathes of New Zealand society. That respect is often tenuous, and more often non-existent, as the result of frequent real and perceived injustices against members of their communities. The police have sought, with some success, to change that (see this example of embedded reporting). Every time Greg O’Connor comes out and transparently declares that his men are above the law, those perceptions harden or reset.

    If you live outside the world of many New Zealanders, these things may be hard to understand. But what shouldn’t be hard to understand is that this poor relationship is not in your interest.

    And yeah, I’ve had a family member viciously attacked by the police and then charged with “assaulting a police officer”, to name one of many acts by the police against me and my family.

    Comment by George D — October 25, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  22. Ah, the old ‘We thought we had permission’ defence.
    I’m pretty sure that was the same trope was wheeled out during the Uruwera prosecution wrt illegal surveillance methods.

    Watch this space for the retroactive Ability to Prosecute Anyone We Bloody Well Like via Subversion Of Due Process Because We Know That Cunt Is Guilty Act 2012 to be rushed through under urgency.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 25, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  23. No good standing western public is ever going to be of the impression that a four year old can be killed by a police officer in good faith, but this is the case of a minor glitch presenting itself in the midst of a long investigation into a gang and I am of the opinion that they did act in good faith in this instance. I do not think that they broke the law, I think the law has provision for police to act in such a way in special circumstances. This isn’t the same as illegally spying on someone and presumably knowing that the conduct of the investigation was shonky from the beginning.

    Comment by Dan — October 25, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  24. Since a link to one is as good as a link to any, the last week has shown a litany of abuses of process, rights, and justice by the police. And with predictable frequency, the defence of those abuses by Greg O’Connor and the Police Association.

    The most galling is the description of changes to prevent rape as a “a ritual humiliation for police”. Yes. He said that.

    Comment by George D — October 25, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  25. There is no provision for the police to lie to a court, ever. There is no provision for sham trials in New Zealand. These are things that are repugnant to the rule of law.

    Comment by J Lee — October 25, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  26. Quote from Gregor C:
    “Watch this space for the retroactive Ability to Prosecute Anyone We Bloody Well Like via Subversion Of Due Process Because We Know That Cunt Is Guilty Act 2012 to be rushed through under urgency.”

    Why stop there? I’m sure Greg O’Connor would be right behind the “Lock Them Up ‘Cos We Know They’re Guilty Act 2012″ and save the tax payer millions in legal aid costs.

    Although I’ve long thought if you really wanted to get tough with gangs you’d go after them for avoiding their GST on drug sales and the like.

    Comment by Conrad — October 25, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  27. Although I’ve long thought if you really wanted to get tough with gangs you’d go after them for avoiding their GST on drug sales and the like.

    A tax evasion conviction did it for Capone.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 25, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  28. Members of the Police team first FORGED a court document (which would have been unnecessary had they actually had the approval of the court, as an actual Search Warrant could have been issued) and then LIED UNDER OATH during an “unexpected” court appearance because the gang told the under-cover operative to fight the charges.Lying under oath was never approved by any member of the judiciary, and never should be.

    Those two things can not be seen as “acting in good faith”, The first is failure to act in good faith to the judiciary, and the second is both pure bungling, as it should have been obvious to all concerned that the gang would expect the undercover officer to fight the charges, and a deliberate and pre-meditated breach of the law.

    The correct policing decision in this case would have been to abort the undercover operation, and extract the operatives when operation was threatened, not to try and concoct some stupid scheme on the fly,

    Doing so is not being “creative”, it’s playing fast & loose with the lives & safety of the under-cover operatives, and I would be very worried, were I an undercover operative in New Zealand, at the so-called “creativity” exhibited by the officers in this case.

    Comment by Frankie — October 25, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  29. Yep, that’s where I stole the idea from.

    And to make it even more attractive I think the onus of proof is reveresed in tax cases – the tax payer has to prove all their income was legitimately earned and the appropriate tax was paid. Although I’m not sure of that.

    Comment by Conrad — October 25, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  30. In that case, J Lee, the illegal practices in court regarding this case are wrong, however they shouldn’t overcloud the premise of the investigation, which would be successful if it hadn’t been for these practices which were taken on, in the view of the police, in light of the necessity to do so. It seems like good faith and standard practices were followed up until the point where the police had reasonable belief that the credibility of the informant, in relation to the gang members, was dissipating. Therefore, not necessarily the clear cut approach of throwing the case out is altogether warranted. It is an option for the Judge, of course, but an alternative may have been, in the light of the complications that arose in the case, to begin a retrial, making it clear of course to the officers in charge that no more false evidence, lies, will be accepted.

    Comment by Dan — October 25, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  31. Dan,

    Of course the Police had a “reason” for doing what they did. And no doubt they thought that they had a “good reason” for what they were doing. But the point is that the Police can’t just ignore the law – and in particular the law that says don’t use the courts and criminal justice system as a mere part of your cover story for agents – whenever they consider there is “good reason” for their actions.

    Plus, if the sanction for this behavior simply is a “tsk, tsk …. Please don’t be naughty again”, then what incentives are there for the Police to modify their behavior in the future?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — October 25, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  32. There is no provision for the police to lie to a court, ever. There is no provision for sham trials in New Zealand.

    There is in the case of an undercover cop who is mistakenly arrested – the court can chose to go through with a sham trial. Seems the police thought this could be extended but were wrong.

    I can see why the police in Nelson want to shut down the gang before they do any real harm to the community but they might have to wait till that harm is done before they can get a good case.

    Comment by NeilM — October 25, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  33. @Comment by Dan — October 25, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    I think we have this weeks winner of the Pete George Memorial Medal.

    The whole bloody point is it hasn’t been successful for the police because of the practices taken on.

    Next you’ll be claiming that pulling the bung out of the bottom of the boat to fit the sink hole would have been successful but for that fact the boat sank.

    Your whole rather silly post adds up to blithe dismissal of about 900 years of development of due process since Magna Carta.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 25, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  34. Has anyone here actually read the High Court judgement? I’m curious to know what that judge had to say about the District Court process, what Police were told and what they did in comparison.

    Comment by izogi — October 25, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  35. But the point is that the Police can’t just ignore the law

    they weren’t ignoring the law, they sort approval but it now happens that the High Court has found that that approval wasn’t good enough.

    Comment by NeilM — October 25, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  36. Surely the most pertinent question is given the 4 year old was an contagious aggressive zombie would not shooting it constitute ‘bad faith’ and how long would Paula Benefit take to release the parents WINZ details aptly demonstrating their failures as parents further justifying the pre emptive rescue of similarly at risk toddlers?

    Comment by Luke. — October 25, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  37. I’ll partly answer my own question with a more recent write-up on Stuff than I’d previously seen, with more detail about what happened.

    Comment by izogi — October 25, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  38. Neil, from the article it appears that the police’s request wasn’t good enough

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 25, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  39. I can see why the police in Nelson want to shut down the gang before they do any real harm to the community but they might have to wait till that harm is done before they can get a good case.

    You mean that whole pesky presumption of innocence thing?

    Comment by Gregor W — October 25, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  40. There is in the case of an undercover cop who is mistakenly arrested – the court can chose to go through with a sham trial. Seems the police thought this could be extended but were wrong.

    Erm could you point to some actual evidence for this? As far as I can tell there’s no legal basis for false charges.

    Comment by J Lee — October 25, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  41. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the Judiciary would be aghast at the suggestion that they actively conspire with the Police in creating false criminal credibility – effectively completely negating their position as impartial interpreters of the law – to aid a police investigation.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 25, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  42. 40.Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the Judiciary would be aghast at the suggestion that they actively conspire with the Police in creating false criminal credibility

    I think that was what I was saying, the courts can make allowance for underscover agents but aren’t in the habit of doing it when they are intentionally arrested.

    From Judge Farnce’s decision:

    It is to be recalled that Judge Johnson would not previously have any experience or exposure to a situation where charges are made and prosecuted as an investigative tool. Like many or most in the system, I am sure he would be aware that occasionally officers are processed under a false name. There is nothing in the letter that would have alerted the Judge to the fact that the present situation was the former and not the latter. Indeed one must ask why would it, given it is essentially an unheard of event.

    Maybe I’ve overstated just what “processed under a false name” means, it’s a bit unclear.

    Comment by NeilM — October 25, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  43. “Processed under a false name” just means they are arrested and booked by the police under that name. It doesn’t mean that charges are laid.

    Comment by J Lee — October 25, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  44. “Processed under a false name” just means they are arrested and booked by the police under that name. It doesn’t mean that charges are laid.

    I see my mistake was to take the policy manual for undercover agents as including such an agreement with the courts when it doesn’t.

    Still, I’m not sure then why Justice France only had one issue with the letter the police gave Judge Johnston, that it did not make explicit enough the arrest was deliberate.

    Comment by NeilM — October 25, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  45. AG @ 30 – “if the sanction for this behavior simply is a “tsk, tsk …. Please don’t be naughty again”, then what incentives are there for the Police to modify their behavior in the future?”
    But of course, it’s not the Police who suffer the sanction, it’s the public.
    I have to admit that I haven’t followed this debacle too closely, I’ve really only read the Herald article that DM has linked. So I fail to understand how fake charges against a man over here, jeopardises the charges against these men over there.
    An analogy could be: some painters were contracted to paint a mural for Mt Cook School. They did a great job and everyone was well pleased. But then it became clear that their Yellow pages listing had misrepresented that they painted the Sistine Chapel. So they were ordered to repaint the mural and forfeit payment.
    In this case, I feel the painters could have been done under the Fair Trading Act/Police could have been prosectuted/held in contempt.

    On the example of a 4 year old: surely an equivalent would be, a teacher dived in and knocked over a 4 year old (killing her in the process) who had already pushed one 3 year old off a cliff and appeared to be readying to push another. The spokesperson for the NZEI (or whoever looks after pre-school teachers) defends the actions of the teacher as lives were at stake.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 25, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  46. @ Sancy wancy – you are still a twat.

    Comment by Tim — October 25, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

  47. Stay strong Tim (and classy): you’ve got these lefties on the run…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 25, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  48. O’Connor is concerned that the Red Devils are “strutting around stronger than ever — they fought the law and they won”, but for some reason he is blaming everything except massive, systemic police incompetence.
    Really, when an expensive court case falls apart because someone someone couldn’t be bothered with legal requirements — resulting in the unusual situation of a trial involving a motorcycle gang ending with the police as the only people known to have broken the law — then it’s time for a lot of gardening leave. But there is something of a theme emerging in recent Dim-Post posts, of immunity to the consequences of incompetence.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 25, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  49. Still, I’m not sure then why Justice France only had one issue with the letter the police gave Judge Johnston, that it did not make explicit enough the arrest was deliberate.

    Without having seen the judgement, I suspect this is not quite accurate. I suspect that Justice Simon France felt there were many issues with the procedure adopted, which is, after all, why he threw out the case.

    (A stay for abuse of process, by the way, generally means any further movement on the case will be seen as a further abuse of process.)

    Comment by J Lee — October 25, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

  50. J Lee. The Judgement is here: http://t.co/FBC5x7q6

    snip

    So in conclusion on this crucial aspect, I consider that what has occurred here amounts to two occasions of serious misuse of the court’s processes. Further, it is exacerbated by the failure to take any advice. Finally, the belief of the police officers
    involved that they had judicial approval was genuinely held, incorrectly held and not reasonably held.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 25, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  51. Sanctuary

    Was it really necessary to post the date and time of my comment?

    I think we’re all in agreement here that what the police did was wrong and illegal. However, this “900 years of development” isn’t really all that grand, since it so often results in throwing the baby out with the bath water. What we need, in cases such as this (and there have been a lot of them in the last couple of years, that have had sufficient merit but been thrown out unreservedly because of bad/illegal practices) is legislation which would demand a retrial, using what evidence is there. This is not a case where there is no evidence and the police made up phony documents to make a case; this is a case where gang members need to be held accountable and, presumably, there is evidence that would have resulted in convictions if the police had not, in conjunction of presenting real evidence, made up documents of their own accord.

    I don’t believe it would be right to just give the officers a telling off. I believe the officers responsible should be stood down but new officers assigned, a retrial commenced and the opportunity available for the Crown to present all of the actual evidence they have at their disposal.

    Comment by Dan — October 25, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  52. Another case has now gone t-u.

    The police thought they had permission at the District Court level
    No, they were trying to cover their arses. If they seriously thought that a District Court judge had the authority to give permission for police misconduct then they all need to be seeking new jobs more suited to their capabilities.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 25, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  53. This is not a case where there is no evidence and the police made up phony documents to make a case

    Except they did make up a phony document.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 25, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  54. What we need, in cases such as this (and there have been a lot of them in the last couple of years, that have had sufficient merit but been thrown out unreservedly because of bad/illegal practices) is legislation which would demand a retrial, using what evidence is there.

    That’s kind of a big ask. Essentially the courts are dealing with a witness who has repeatedly lied under oath and presented false legal documents. You are proposing a law change whereby the dishonesty of a witness should not be held against him, and any other evidence or testimony he gives should be presumed to be true until it is also proven otherwise.

    You are begging the question with the claim that these various thrown-out cases “have had sufficient merit”; we will never know what merit they had, due to a police policy of incompetence and fraudulence.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 25, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

  55. Heh. Good old Choo.

    France is pretty scathing: “This was at least genuine in that MW had indeed breached bail by not appearing.”

    “I admit I was surprised, to say the least, that such an established protocol could exist for a process which, at least in my view, uncomfortably blurs the respective roles.”

    “I asked the officers if any thought had been given to this, and the answer was “no”.”

    Pretty solid judgement; probably going to be a leading case on abuse of process.

    Comment by J Lee — October 25, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  56. Thanks, PB#49. Reading through that is even worse than I expected with the discussion of the likely mis-leading of the DC judge for authorising the fake trial with false oaths being sworn, the fake search warrant being used as if it were genuine and so on.

    Obviously the nature of Police and Courts means they need to work together, but I’d find it really disturbing if it were considered acceptable for a court to even occasionally authorise fake proceedings to assist the police. Police should be required to partake in the court process with the same tools as the defence. If the courts can’t be trusted not to have hidden agendas or be clear and open about what’s happening on any given occasion, how are people ever to be convinced they’re getting a fair trial?

    It’s a shame all officers have to be associated with all of this through the Police Association’s comments. The fact that the PA feels the need to comment on this at all, instead of leaving it to the NZ Police Force to handle, is hard to stomach and stinks of the same type of conduct that probably led to it all happening this way in the first place. I can’t understand what it’s trying to accomplish by getting involved.

    Comment by izogi — October 25, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  57. Isn’t that his job though to stick up for his members. Whether he agrees with their actions or not.

    Up to a point, L. Up to a point. But, look, O’Connor’s default position always seems to be that anyone who dares say anything even mildly disobliging about the conduct of any Police officer ever is a crim-coddling beast who won’t be happy until the gutters run red with cop blood. Frankly, if that’s the kind of leadership the members of the Police Association want, that’s their lookout. I’m just not sure it’s working out as well as they think.

    Comment by cranapia — October 25, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

  58. Nah fuck it if the cops can’t do their job without breaking the law and that results in a person getting off a charge I think it’s fair enough. The power to arrest and charge people is not some inalienable right gifted to police from on high, society bestows them with this special right/duty on the conditions that they play by the rules. With power comes responsibility blah blah blah

    In regards to the badguys getting away with crimes, ianal etc but I’m pretty sure the Judge gets to make the call whether the cops get to use their illegal evidence or not based on the seriousness of the offences (and undoubtedly other factors as well, see urewera trial).

    Also as a victim of police entrapment I can attest that a non-zero number of police undercover operations actively encourage crimes to be committed. What have these bikers done anyway? One of them sold this undercover officer some meth that I’m guessing the officer asked for and based on the fake evidence the cops used to frame their own guy I assume there’s some cannabis and theft-related charges in there?

    The herald article linked in the post says the police used a digger “to smash into their HQ”, photo-of-cop-in-swat-gear-driving-the-digger supplied (by the NZPD PR dept. I assume) and I read an article on stuff(lol) today that reckoned the police chainsawed their way through a fence and into one of the gang’s parties despite being let in the front gate – all those heroes got for their death-defying, selfless actions was a few people in possession of a small amount of cannabis. There’s definitely a pattern in this spate of recent cop cock-up stories where the police appear more interested in playing rambo in fucking movieland than doing their goddamn job. It’s no surprise that the public is losing respect for the police when the police obviously have so little respect for the public.

    I don’t think these bikers will be let off if they’ve been selling meth by the cubic metre and pimping out primary school kids to the catholic church. All this scaremongering from the cops about how dangerous criminals are being let out by that mean ol Judge is really more about the police being fucking immature about being caught-out and is an attempt to bully and frighten the public into putting pressure on politicians/the judiciary to let the police get away with breaking the rules.

    Chances are the Red Devils aren’t all that savoury but until the police can stick them with a serious crime (or even a not-very-serious crime if they feel they can keep to the law when conducting their investigations) then the gangmembers have a right to their freedom.

    What I can’t understand is why more people don’t find it totally fucking embarrassing that our police force appear incapable of pulling off anything more complex than writing a out a speeding ticket without breaking the law.

    Comment by Rob — October 25, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  59. Comment by Rob — October 26, 2012 @ 12:15 am

  60. 53: ironically, if this case had gone to trial & MW appeared as a witness, I suspect MW’s identity would have been exposed. After all, it seems to me that a man who has mislead a court before, who has spend much time semi-successfully deceiving those around him, is a witness that needs to be challenged, and the start of that has to be investigating his real identity.

    Also this isn’t so much about the admissibility of evidence: it’s about apparently criminal police conduct. (As Justice Simon France says, conduct elements seem to be made out in several places.) And so saying: o, do the thing over, without the evidence obtained badly, is impossible. The whole operation is fruit of the poisoned tree, to misuse a maxim.

    Comment by J Lee — October 26, 2012 @ 12:29 am

  61. I find O’Connors comments odd, in light of both this and the Dotcom fiasco, it is clear that Detective Inspector Grant Wormald is a bad apple. It is clear that he has no intention of following the law, and that he is far more interested in locking up the-person-who-has-been-determined-to-be-guilty, regardless of what it takes. Almost like he has been embolden by the irresponsible comments by the minister responsible, Anne Tolley.

    Speaking of Anne Tolley, the biggest thing left unsaid so far is her attempt to avoid some time of external enquiry. She claimed that this type of behaviour is an operational matter. This is patently ridiculous, choosing whether to be compliant with the law is not an operation matter…

    Comment by Michael — October 26, 2012 @ 3:32 am

  62. @ 47: CF when faced with such fuckwitness as are sancys lefty kneejerk FTP comments I think my comment was appropriate:

    “It isn’t as if he couldn’t find gainful employment somewhere else where he would be completely at home – like Fiji or as a spokesperson for the Israeli Army”

    “O’Conner is quite simply hell bent on reducing our police force to a rabble”

    Comment by Tim — October 26, 2012 @ 7:03 am

  63. Dear Tim,

    Personally I am quite fond of my polemical style, and I am moved – moved, I tells ya! That you clearly feel the need to rise from your chaise longue, as richly deserved your repose is after what are clearly mentally exhausting days spent in the profitable persuit of capitalist gain, and regain the keyboard to rail against my neo-Trotskyite inflammations to mayhem and revolution. Giving due consideration to your clear agitation, and taking into consideration all the available facts, I have decided that from now on I shall only post whilst wearing a red clowns nose. of course, you will know if this is or is not actually true, but I am sure they will let you use the white board markers in whatever gleaming tower of finance you work in to draw a picture of me spendidly attired as such (use a bit of artistic licence and draw me wearing an ACT rossette – you know you want to). That way, whenever in the future you feel roused to rise again from your chaise longue to launch one of your deftfully crafted assaults, you can can instead simply glance at the picture, smile, and fall back to continue your hard-earned rest.

    See? Always thinking of the little guy, that’s me!

    P.S. I know “chaise longue” is French, so you may know them better as “freedom couches”.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 26, 2012 @ 7:54 am

  64. At least this tale of woeful criminality has taken the MSD hash off the table

    This is good news for Paula Bennett!

    Comment by Gregor W — October 26, 2012 @ 8:59 am

  65. Good point. Although teacher and public service unions fight tooth and nail in private on behalf of the most startlingly corrupt or inept workers. They wouldn’t do this in public because it would be damn embarrassing for their respective professions. Give O’Connor points for chutzpa.

    Comment by Mark B — October 26, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  66. Herr Doktor Bimler

    No, I’m not suggesting a retrial using a witness that has repeatedly lied and I’m not suggesting a retrial using any phony documents. What I’m suggesting is a retrial using any concrete evidence, if there is any. If it has been established that there is none, then there will be no retrial. If there is, then new police officers will be assigned to present the court with it. The trial will be without the gilding of the lily that accompanies other cases (witnesses displaying their emotions, etc, because there will be no witnesses or only witnessess identified in the previous trial as credible) so that will be an advantage for the accused, but police failure to conduct their investigation legally does not absolve gang members from the crimes they have committed.

    Comment by Dan — October 26, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  67. What I’m suggesting is a retrial using any concrete evidence, if there is any.

    Dan – unless by “any concrete evidence” you mean ‘indisputable and authenticated facts’ the problem with your logic is that the trial process is used to establish the veracity of the evidence presented.

    As J Lee points out, any evidence pertaining to this case must now be assumed by the court to be irrevocably tainted by the illegal actions of the Police.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 26, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  68. Thanks, Gregor.

    Comment by Dan — October 26, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  69. @ Dan – “No good standing western public is ever going to be of the impression that a four year old can be killed by a police officer in good faith, but this is the case of a minor glitch presenting itself in the midst of a long investigation into a gang and I am of the opinion that they did act in good faith in this instance. I do not think that they broke the law, I think the law has provision for police to act in such a way in special circumstances. This isn’t the same as illegally spying on someone and presumably knowing that the conduct of the investigation was shonky from the beginning.”

    Have a care, Dan. What you seem to be advocating is a police state where rules apply to everyone except those in Authority.

    My parents escaped from such a country in the 1950s, and I happened to live there for about a year, during my OE in the 1970s.

    It was a police state in the 1950s and it was still a police state when I visited. Make no mistake, when the coercive arm of the State has power beyond the law, you will not want to live in such a society.

    I can understand that the Police want to address the problem of gangs and their involvement in drugs. I wish them success in their enterprise and I doubt any of us would oppose their lawful activities (especially when it comes to “P”). But within the law, not outside it.

    Comment by Frank Macskasy — October 26, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  70. “pimping out primary school kids to the catholic church”

    ROFL!

    Comment by richdrich — October 26, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  71. Although teacher and public service unions fight tooth and nail in private on behalf of the most startlingly corrupt or inept workers.

    Not in my experience. They do, however, insist on due process. Which is what is conspicuous in its absence in the particular case we are discussing here.

    Comment by Neil — October 26, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  72. I do not think that they broke the law,

    They presented a false legal document. They lied under oath. Now I realise that this is SOP under DI Wormald’s leadership, so they probably did indeed think that their arses were covered for anything they did; and I realise that there is nothing new about this. But in what peculiar legal interpretation did they not break the law?

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — October 26, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  73. Although teacher and public service unions fight tooth and nail in private on behalf of the most startlingly corrupt or inept workers.
    *wanders in and leaves anecdoates*
    I know of at least two inept/dreadful workers that lied to their respective unions in order to fight dismissals and were dropped very fast (standard ensuring of due process etc aside) once the truth came out. Functioning unions do not like to waste their power/respect by picking losing fights or by retaining bad workers that their other members will have to deal with.

    Comment by Flynn — October 27, 2012 @ 12:05 am

  74. Herr Doktor Bimler @ 72 – we’ve moved past that. Feel free to check out and reply to my comment @ 66

    Frank @ 69 – I do not believe that the police should be above the law, but I do think there should be added provision (to what degree I’m not sure) to allow for a retrial in cases where there is concrete evidence but the case has been thrown out because of the actions of the police. This does not hold negative police actions on a pedestal, as the officers responsible would be stood down.

    Gregor @ 67 – yes, the trial is the process by where it is established if there is any concrete evidence. However in special situations where there is the likelihood of a conviction for gang-related activities and the case has been dismissed, I am proposing that a committee be set up, to be made up of fulltime permanent assessors, say about three groups of fifteen per group in each region (these would comprise lawyers, at least one retired judge, and highly specialised police officers) to establish exactly what evidence there is and decide on whether or not to have a retrial.

    Comment by Dan — October 27, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  75. Or alternatively Dan we as a society take the more simple approach of demanding that the Police operate legally within their already fairly wide ranging powers, and that the courts examine evidence using rules and conventions established over hundreds of years to ensure that all citizens, no matter how vile, have the inalienable right to a fair and uncorrupted trial process.

    There. Fixed it.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 27, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  76. Sancy wancy said “I am quite fond of my polemical style”

    You call it style the rest of us call it being a twat.

    Comment by Tim — October 27, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  77. Since 2008, National have made progressive inroads into prosecuting gang members. What they have not done is legislate in accordance with achieving that aim specifically. I am pleased that they have toughened up on parole. However, if they do not legislate specifically in accordance with their aim to drastically reduce gang related activities, then we will have a lot more cases like this that waste thousands of dollars and are then dismissed.

    The choices are: 1. To act like Clark-led Labour, where a blind eye is turned to gangs. 2. To keep going as is, targeting this issue but without any new legislation or amendments to established legislation. 3. To keep targeting gangs but more thoroughly assist police with their investigations by introducing legislation that helps achieve this aim.

    I think it’s about time the existing legislation was looked at and amended in areas that are practical, applicable and have the greatest chance to achieve the aim of reducing criminal activities in gangs.

    Comment by Dan — October 27, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  78. Like I said before, if the offences are serious enough the judge will allow the dodgey evidence to be used and the case to go ahead. Your committee just sounds like a an expensive team of people whose job is to wipe the police’s arse after they’ve finished shitting on due process.

    Comment by Rob — October 27, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  79. Thing is, it isn’t about evidence. It’s about the police abusing process. And you can’t just repeat the trial, because then there’s no loss to the police for their misbehaviour.

    Comment by J Lee — October 27, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

  80. J Lee, it’s not the police that lose out. You can still have a trial but hold the individual police to account for their actions. What do you want to do? Hold all the police in the country for the actions by a few?

    Rob, something needs to be done if the government are going to continue to target gangs, otherwise more cases like this will happen and it will also be expensive because it will continue to cost tens of thousands of dollars, only for cases to be dismissed. A committee is only option but already this has been rubbished by you, so what do you suggest?

    “If the offences are serious enough the judge will allow the dodgey (sic) evidence to be used and the case to go ahead” That sounds like the law currently permits large discrepancies to occur in court, it’s a hit-and-miss way of doing things.

    Comment by Dan — October 27, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  81. In effect, Greg O’Connor is a 1970s shop steward with a badge.

    Comment by DeepRed — October 29, 2012 @ 2:48 am

  82. Yeah fuck what kind of idiot would trust a judge to make a decision in court, how very hit and miss.

    Comment by Rob — October 29, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  83. “You call it style the rest of us call it being a twat.”

    No, wim. That’s what YOU call it … over and over again … which is really boring. If you’re going to troll, at least put your awesome 155 point IQ to some obvious use and bring some imaginative effort to the enterprise.

    Comment by Flashing Light — October 29, 2012 @ 8:47 am

  84. Flushing Blight – YOU are boring with your repetitive defense of Sancy Wancy. It’s almost as if you are him. BTW, I retested and the IQ has gone up to 161 and I’m sorry that I haven’t applied it to advanced marxist history.

    Comment by Tim — October 30, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

  85. I don’t defend Sanctuary. I attack you. These are not the same thing, and your inability to tell the difference makes me doubt you have left high school yet.

    Comment by Flashing Light — October 31, 2012 @ 6:19 am

  86. FL’s enemy’s enemy is his friend?

    Comment by Phil — October 31, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  87. FL think Sanctuary a long winded ideologue who nevertheless adds value to a comment chain, while wim/tusel is the death of the internet.

    Comment by Flashing Light — October 31, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  88. Gee you have touch of the long winded idealogue Flushing Blight as well as a penchant for stalking me. No means no OK.

    Comment by Tim — October 31, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  89. FFS, this blog is full of long-winded people that talk about political issues in a way I can’t understand, so I therefore have to label them as liberal beltway types and call them idiots and stuff like that to annoy them to try and get them to stop because I am employed by John Key and he wants to diminish intellectualism. So far, I’m making very good progress.

    Comment by Dan — October 31, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  90. Do you know what “long winded” and “ideologue” mean, wim? Maybe ask your teacher to help you find them in a dictionary. And it’s not stalking when an exterminator hunts down a cockroach.

    Yeah – that’s right … I just called you a cockroach, wimmy. Go tell mommy.

    Comment by Flashing Light — November 1, 2012 @ 4:05 am

  91. To be fair, Tim is more akin to herpes simplex than a cockroach.
    Once he’s infected the site you can’t get rid of him, he flares up occasionally but the irritation gradually subsides in frequency and duration over time.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 1, 2012 @ 9:27 am


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