Private Prosecution of Police for Exceeding Powers of Warrant
NEED BETTER WORK STORIES?
[The link above takes you to the front page, which presently contains this story. After a week, you will then need to look down the front page, or search for the title “Need better work stories”.]
8 October 2013
A 7-day trial in the Auckland High Court begins Monday, 14 October, against 14 men in blue concerning the dawn 2008 raid on the offices of Spartan News Limited (this website) and home of Vince and Jane Siemer. A fifteenth defendant is the deputy registrar of the District Court who signed the undated police search warrant.
No one was charged as a result of the raid, which was postulated on Vince Siemer publishing the suppressed police affidavit used to hold, without bail, 18 New Zealand citizens in the infamous October 2007 Tuhoe raids (4 of the 18 were eventually convicted of various weapons charges; charges were dropped on the other 14).
The case has been five years in the offing.
Defence Counsel Austin Powers, of the “Constitutional and Human Rights Team” within Crown Law, will first cross-examine Vince and Jane and their daughter of the events of 21 February 2008 before the 14 police defendants tell their work stories. Two weeks ago that was expected to concern the twelve pages of items they seized but never accounted for on the day. However, the week before trial, the police conceded they have been withholding evidence of examination reports on the 5 cell phones they seized, had taken 183 photos inside the home not previously accounted for and cannot find the data the police cloned from three computers they seized.
Crown counsel Powell could only reply in a 7 October email, “I am not able to give priority to any more questions about discovery of documents. We are now a week out from the fixture and there is a great deal of preparation to do. I will attend to this and any other requests if time permits.”
Then-Solicitor General David Collins approved the raids on Tuhoe in 2007 and the Siemers in 2008 but the Court of Appeal ruled in 2011 he could not be sued by Siemers and Spartan News. Mr Collins was appointed a High Court judge in 2012.
In addition to all phones and computers, the police seized tax and business accounts, cameras and even printers. The police claim their active investigation ceased three years ago but admit to still holding unspecified property. The biggest return of items to date was more than 4 years after the raid, on 21 September 2012.
The claim pleads eight causes of action, including unlawful detention and trespass, malice and conversion. The plaintiffs are represented by Yale educated barrister Colin Henry of Albany.
For people who are interested in private prosecutions, this case should provide quite a lot of useful material.
There will be two days of ducking and diving alone. The amount of perjury is yet to be seen?
As Private Jones says in Dad’s Army “They don’t like it up ’em”.
If you have any dreams of private prosecutions and judicial reviews, protect your evidence and paperwork against all forms of loss and damage and theft….. and insects,…. and moths, ….. and volcanoes, ….. and earthquakes and landslides…… and Government assistance.
Bit of irony: 12th parole hearing today for Teina Pora. Even the Police admit they got it wrong and he is still in jail.
Court martial begins for Defence Force boss
Would be interesting to see the outcome. Hope commonsense prevails.
@ 2 so if she was paid she wouldn’t be complaining??
Thanks for alerting us to this Murray.
My mistake, sorry. It is a civil damages suit by Vince Siemer and family, against NZ Police for use of a defective search warrant (undated) and illegal detention during the search. Also for damage to property, unreasonable delay before return of property and failure to account for property. Overal, it gives the appearance of NZ Police using the leaking of their (later proven partly baseless) affidavit, as an opportunity to give Vince a going over, as police fairly often do.
– Private prosecutions can be successful in enforcing laws, when Police are unwilling to take action:
(I apologise for voting for him, a few years back.)
John Banks resigns as Minister By Heather McCracken , Claire Trevett @CTrevettNZH
5:41 PM Wednesday Oct 16, 2013
ACT Leader John Banks has resigned from his ministerial posts effective immediately in the wake of the Auckland District Court decision to send him to trial over his donations.
Mr Banks said he had told the Prime Minister’s office last week that he would offer his resignation if the matter was committed to trial.
“I have spoken to the Prime Minister this afternoon and he has accepted my resignation.
“I believe the decision in the Auckland District Court was wrong and I will be contesting the charge. However I do not want this to be a distraction from the Government’s programme.”
Mr Banks was the Associate Commerce Minister, Associate Education Minister, Regulatory Reform Minister and Small Business Minister.
Mr Banks said said he would continue to support the Government on confidence and supply votes, and would stay on as MP for Epsom and Act leader.
“My focus will now be on clearing my name and serving the people of Epsom,” Mr Banks said.
Police inspector faces private prosecution over unlawful operation that saw 22 dogs rounded up and killed
19:24, 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 UPDATED 19:50, 12 SEPTEMBER 2015
BY JOHN SIDDLE
Head of dog unit set to be summonsed to court after solicitors launch private prosecution
A Merseyside police inspector faces a private prosecution over an operation that saw dozens of dogs rounded up and destroyed.
Twenty-two banned breed dogs were killed in March 2013 in a crackdown against owners who had failed to abide by court conditions when they were granted permission to keep their pets.
Homes across Merseyside were raided, with the pets taken away and put down within a matter of hours.
Detectives said the strong-arm action was to combat irresponsible dog ownership across Merseyside – but the operation was later ruled unlawful by a High Court judge, who said the courts should have had the final say on the animals’ fate.
Now the head of Merseyside Police’s dogs unit is to be summonsed to court by solicitors representing some of the pet owners.
A spokesman for the firm said: “The charges relate to a highly-publicised police operation devised and implemented by Gareth Phelps in his capacity as head of the Merseyside Police Dog Unit, which resulted in the seizure and unlawful killing of dogs which lived with their owners in the Merseyside area.
“Although each of the dogs were prohibited dogs, courts had previously found that in each case the dogs did not pose a risk to public safety.
“All of the dogs led blameless lives, some for as many as 10 years after they had been declared exempt.
“There was no evidence that any of the dogs seized and killed during the operation ordered by Gareth Phelps had been involved in any incident in which the public or any animal had been placed at risk.”
Merseyside Police said that all owners stripped of their dogs in the operation were sent warning letters advising them that they were in breach of the court orders before the warrants were executed.
Last year, the force said it acted in good faith when embarking on its danger dog crackdown but accepted the decision of the High Court, saying Mr Justice King’s ruling had provided “clarity” in a grey area of the law.
The force said it felt compelled to bring the operation against owners of banned breed dogs who had not abided by court exemption orders, pointing to the deaths of five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson and four-year-old John Paul Massey, who were both killed by banned pit bulls.
Parry Welch Lacey said it had instigated criminal proceedings as a “matter of regret” but that it was “required in the public interest to prevent any further breaches of the law”.
Insp Phelps is due to appear at Liverpool magistrates’ court on October 1, the firm said.
The offence of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal is punishable by a fine of up to Ã‚Â£20,000 or six months’ imprisonment.
Charlene Barrett, 27, from Kirkby, told how her pit bull Blade was taken by officers after she forgot to renew her mandatory Ã‚Â£25-a-year insurance.
She said: “They burst through the door and questioned me, it was if I had just murdered someone. It was just ridiculous.
“I had paid for Blade’s insurance for eight years but it had lapsed. We hadn’t received a reminder letter and it was just a misunderstanding.
“They took him away and put him down. I asked for his ashes and his collar back but they said they couldn’t because they burned all the dogs together.
Jamie Harper, 20, saw his pit bull-type dog Jadey taken away from his family home in Wirral after insurance lapsed. The Harper family instantly renewed the paperwork after police seized their dog – but it was too late.
Jamie, from Prenton, said: “I know the police have a job to do and I know we didn’t keep to the conditions, but we genuinely thought the paperwork was in order.
“We just wanted time to sort out the documentation and we weren’t given that chance.”
“This is a complicated area of law and the force has abided by the ruling of Mr Justice King and is at a loss as to why this private prosecution has been brought, which will be vigorously defended and the force will fully support Inspector Gareth Phelps.
“The force is committed to protecting the communities of Merseyside and the action taken in March 2014, was taken in good faith as we believed the dog owners were in breach of the on-going requirements of the exemption, which represented a danger to public safety.”
A general principle of law is that heavy handed enforcement action should be delayed sufficiently to allow any aggrieved party to appeal. Similarly, evidence is meant to be held until the last appeals process deadline has passed by.
Taking final action inside such appeal deadlines, results in a situation that cannot be remedied, if some form of mistake has been made. In this situation, such a mistake was made.
Going back a few years, when NZ still had the death penalty, I believe that the last hanging was rushed to bolster the election chances of the Minister of Police and Corrections. It was later found that the hanging victim was innocent, as the apparent murder turned out to have been an accidental poisoning, which the accused was not responsible for. The Minister of Corrections was never able to properly sort out his misdemeanor. He didn’t even try! Unhanging just doesn’t seem to work.
Similarly, the familycaught$ appears to allow mothers to take children out of NZ, inside the appeal period, so that legislated right of appeal becomes of no value in the real world. Again, if any type of mistake has been made, familycaught$ will be unable to rectify it.
Rule of law is too often sacrificed, when officers show off, by abusing their powers.
Working accountability would go a long way to preventing these types of illegal incidents from taking place.
Private prosecution is a last ditch tool for citizens to protect their supposed rights from Government malpractice.
If citizens don’t fight, then they lose their rights in practical terms.
Yes, when there was an attempt on the Fuhrers life, and it failed, 7000 people were arrested and 5000 were executed – WOW – that’s telling everyone who is in charge.
Mmm, yes police need to operate within the boundaries of their empowering legislation and often fail to do so. For example, they ask pedestrians for ‘i.d.’ and they ask drivers they stop “Have you had anything to drink tonight”. While they may be entitled to ask anything they want, it places Joe Public in a difficult situation, fearful of annoying the constable who has the power to cause a lot of harm if unhappy with the reply. In fact, a pedestrian has no obligation to carry i.d. and a driver has no obligation to discuss his/her private legal behaviour. Police are bullying people by asking such things of them.
However, I too would like to see pitbulls and other types bred for fighting to be banned and eradicated.
The tuhoi TERROR raid informant was the same nz police spy who attempted to entrap me on firearms charges and made false accusations I was a TERRORIST. Problem is I caught him. iPCA covered up enquiry and the inspector involved tried twice to talk me out of making a complaint before he resigned in a hurry. That’s perverting the course of justice, and makes all involved parties to the primary offending.
A book by Bruce Bryant …a small window . Destroying the reputation of Dr Rongo Wetere …the book details the political bullying in nz, where codes of ethics are breached with impunity and where character assassination and gas lighting those speaking the truth reign supreme.
In my case I have seen first hand the state refusing to prosecute criminals, a mother who harmed Her child and a sister who has harmed her mother and committed crimes. Why? Because this facilitated the persecution of men, fathers and sons. A form of greedy imperialistic social control. I have also witnessed the deliberate refusal to hold people to account to their codes of ethics……social workers, lawyers, police, IRD staff, citizens advice staff. This appears to be an easy out in refusing to halt the criminality but in allowing some to be deliberately negligent and not criminally liable. As they create conflict, provoke people to conflict and then seek to earn income from that.
The unlawful raids on our home occurred in 2012. The same year as the Dotcom raids. I see Dotcom received a payout from the police. Why him and not others? We have a serious problem within the NZ police and a lack of integrity by some as they cover up the crimes of the crown.
…However, I too would like to see pitbulls and other types bred for fighting to be banned and eradicated.
I am assuming you mean the police?
Maybe they should all be vasectomised…or euthenased?