Allegations of abuse by NZ Police

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This page last updated June 1 2007

Feb 25 2007 - Opinion - Michael Laws: Police will be biggest loser
A deep unease surrounds this trial. For the reek of political prosecution attends proceedings. The Wellington shadow is everywhere - part police HQ and part political correctness….. The greatest unease is the process by which this case ever came to trial.  There was the revelation that the complainant was determined, she said under oath, to get the conviction that Louise Nicholas could not

The trial does raise the wider issue of historical sexual abuse charges. Should there be a statute of limitation that applies given that so many descend into he said/she said circularity? At which stage the onus of proof - and the need to convict beyond reasonable doubt - apply their own symmetry. A good example is the Louise Nicholas trial. No other verdict than "not guilty" was obvious from the opening addresses because there were no witnesses and there was no physical evidence

2007-0225 - Sunday Star Times - Police will be biggest loser in Rickards' trial

Feb 22 2007 - Steve McDowell, Sharon Shipton, testify for defence
Defence witnesses Steve McDowell and Sharon Shipton

McDowell told the court he remembered Rickards having a cast on through Christmas and remembered a second cast, which had a hinge, allowing the knee to move. "He could not support himself without a crutch and it was sometime into the New Year when he could walk freely."

Sharon Shipton has told the court her husband grew a moustache in 1982 and did not shave it off until the mid 1990's. The complainant earlier told the court she had a relationship with Shipton in late 1983 and early 1984 and he was clean shaven the entire time

2007-0222 - Stuff - Rickards says sex claims accuser lying

2007-0222 - Three News - Former All Black gives evidence in sex abuse trial

2007-0222 - Radio NZ - Rickards asked in sex trial about being practised witness

2007-0222 - Newstalk ZB - A surprise witness has been called at the trial of three men

2007-0223 - NZ Herald - All Black great backs Rickards' evidence

Feb 22 2007 - Rickards under cross examination
Brent StanawayProsecutor Brent Stanaway claims Rickards is an experienced liar as he spent two years as an undercover officer, living a lie day in and day out. Rickards responded by saying he only ever lied to the criminal fraternity and always told the truth on the stand as a Crown witness

Brent Stanaway

2007-0222 - Newstalk ZB - Rickards painted as trained liar

2007-0222 - Three News - Rickards takes the stand

2007-0222 - Radio NZ - Rickards asked in sex trial about being practised witness

2007-0222 - One News - Rickards calm in witness box

2007-0223 - NZ Herald - All Black great backs Rickards' evidence

Feb 22 2007 - Clint Rickards gives evidence in his own defence
Refutes allegations - "does not know the woman"… "The allegations are not true" … "I have never known the woman". The woman's evidence led him to the "conclusion she was lying"

Major knee operation - The court heard Rickards had major surgery in October 1983, and was in plaster from his thigh to his ankle for several weeks, and on crutches for several weeks after that. This contradicted the complainant's evidence that she met him several times at a local Cobb and Co restaurant and police bar over this time. She never remembered seeing him in plaster, crutches or hobbling.

Photograph of Clint Rickards in 1983
In the plaster cast the complainant "could not recall"

Uniformed officer - he was a uniformed police officer and would not have been in plain clothes as the woman alleges

2007-0222 - NZ Herald - Rickards: I never knew woman accusing me of assault

2007-0222 - One News - Rickards takes the stand at trial

2007-0222 - Stuff - Rickards says he never met alleged victim until last year

2007-0222 - Stuff - Rickards says sex claims accuser lying

2007-0222 - Newstalk ZB - Rickards claims never knew woman

2007-0222 - Radio NZ - Rickards takes stand in police officers' sex trial

2007-0222 - NZPA - Rickards uses family photo in evidence

Clint Rickards
Feb 22 2007 - Rickards due to take stand
Clint Rickards expected to give evidence

2007-0222 - Radio NZ - Rickards due to take stand in police officers' sex trial

2007-0222 - Newswire - Rickards Due To Take Stand In Police Officers' Sex Trial

2007-0222 - Three News - Rickards expected to take the stand today

2007-0222 - Manawatu Standard - Rickards on stand

Feb 21 2007 - Rickards claimed that police interview was an unfair ambush
Detective Senior Sergeant Roy McGregor giving evidence. He charged Clint Rickards with kidnapping and indecent assault, but would not tell Rickards who the complainant was. John Haigh suggested "it was the old ambush strategy". Mr McGregor said it was "strategic"

2007-0222 - NZ Herald - Police interview was an unfair ambush, says Rickards

Feb 21 2007 - Cross examination of complainant continues
Shipton's defence lawyer Bill Nabney claims the woman making the allegations kept in contact with Brad Shipton for several years after the date of the alleged incident, as her new phone number was found in his police notebook. The woman says there is no way she would have given her number to Shipton.

Schollum's lawyer Paul Mabey QC has cross-examined the complainant, claiming she has continued to add details to her statement over the past two years, in a concerted effort to have the men convicted. The woman admits making mistakes in a statement two years ago.

Mr Mabey asked why her recollection during this trial was different to earlier comments she had made. The woman said "I know poor Louise Nicholas lost her case and I am trying damn hard to make sure these guys are done."

2007-0221 - Newstalk ZB - Police assault trial continues

2007-0221 - Newstalk ZB - Woman wants accused men convicted

2007-0221 - One News - Woman challenged in police trial

2007-0221 - Three News - Complainant admits to making mistakes in statement

2007-0221 - NZ Herald - I want conviction Louise Nicholas didn't get, woman tells court

2007-0221 - Stuff - Woman wants conviction for 'poor Louise'

2007-0221 - Radio NZ - Complainant: not lying or embellishing

2007-0221 - Radio NZ - Plaintiff 'trying hard' to ensure accused trio convicted

2007-0221 - Three News - Complainant finishes testimony after two days in the stand

2007-0222 - NZ Herald - Accuser says she is trying 'damn hard' for conviction

2007-0222 - Dominion Post - Accuser 'made up police sex evidence'

Feb 21 2007 - Summary of second day, Feb 20
Prosecution case: Claimant says Rickards was the last person she saw with a set of handcuffs before they were used to chain her to a bedpost while she was sexually violated. But she also admits being unable to identify him from a photograph taken at the same time in the 1980s. She was asked if she could have mistaken Rickards and replied "I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever. I know it was Clint," She said she did not complain because nobody would believe her.

Clint Rickards (rear) and his lawyer John Haigh
Clint Rickards (rear) and
his lawyer, John Haigh

Defence cross examination: John Haigh, challenged a number of
contradictions in her police statements and previous court appearances. He asked the woman how - despite Rickards serving as a uniformed officer and being on crutches and in a plaster cast for much of the time during which the alleged incident occurred - she could not recall seeing him incapacitated and only claimed to have seen him in plain clothes. He told the woman her accumulated inconsistencies showed she simply could not be believed and she was "embellishing, constructing as she went along".

2007-0221 - NZ Herald - Woman chained to bed, court told

2007-0221 - Stuff - Sex-abuse claim woman 'embellishing' - defence

2007-0221 - Newstalk ZB - Cross examination continues in assault case

2007-0221 - Newswire - Alleged Victim To Face More Questioning Today

Feb 20 2007 - Cross-examination of complainant begins in afternoon
The lawyer for Clint Rickards says the woman changed her story as she went along - she made things up and embellished the truth to make a case for herself..

Under cross examination, John Haigh QC asked the woman why she had originally told police she was in a sexual relationship with Rickards for six months, but later said she had never had intercourse with him.

Mr Haigh says the woman's story is not consistent, the incident never took place and claims she did not even know his client. He claimed that Clint Rickards has been misidentified. The court was adjourned after the complainant became upset while testifying.

2007-0220 - Three News - Cross-examination in Rickards, Shipton and Schollum case

2007-0220 - Newstalk ZB - Claims cops laughed in alleged assault

2007-0220 - Three News - Rickards, Shipton and Schollum trial continues

2007-0220 - Three News - Woman breaks down under cross-examination

2007-0220 - Three News - Day of evidence from complainant in sexual assault case

2007-0220 - Newstalk ZB - Doubt cast on police accuser's evidence

Feb 20 2007 - More evidence from complainant
The complainant described how she struggled with the three men before they allegedly attacked her. before the alleged indecent assault with a bottle the accused said "For such a little thing she is a fighter." The complainant reafully described how the three police officers laughed: "It was like a joke for them"

2007-0220 - NZ Herald - Girl described as 'a fighter' before sexual attack, court told

2007-0220 - Stuff - Cops 'laughed as they forced bottle into me'

2007-0220 - Newswire - Complainant In Tears Giving Evidence

2007-0220 - One News - Jury hears police assaulted teen

Feb 20 2007 - Summary of first day, Feb 19
Prosecution case: Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh told the court how the girl was in a consensual sexual relationship with Shipton when she was taken to a house in Rotorua where the men and two others she also thought to be police officers were drinking. Mr Zarifeh said she was handed a drink and the men implied they were going to have sex with her, which she refused. Shipton then said something like "she wasn't going to go willingly" and she was picked up and taken to a bedroom struggling and screaming. Shipton allegedly straddled the girl - who was about 1.52m in height and weighed around 50kg - and passed some handcuffs to either Rickards or Schollum, who were standing on either side. The other two men were also in the room with one of them pacing about

Defence opening statements:  John Haigh, QC, for Rickards, said his defence was simple: "There was no incident ... He did not know this woman before the incident, he did not know her after and he does not know her today." Bill Nabney, for Shipton, said he denied any such incident took place, although he admitted knowing her. Paul Mabey, QC, for Schollum said his client also denied involvement in any such incident.

2007-0220 - NZ Herald - Rickards denies kidnapping and indecent assault

2007-0220 - Dominion Post - Rickards in court on further sex charges

2007-0220 - Three News - Rickards trial continues today

Feb 19 2007 - Case opens
Prosecutor Mark Zarifeh has opened his case. At the time of the alleged incident the complainant, now aged 39 was 16. The allegations are that the complainant was forced into a room, pinned down by the three men, handcuffed and then sexually assaulted with a bottle. The woman alleged she was screaming and struggling. The three men deny the event ever took place. They all loudly denied the charges.

2007-0219 - Newstalk ZB - Case opens against police accused

2007-0219 - Newstalk ZB - Former cops deny assault

2007-0219 - NZ Herald - New trial under way for assistant commissioner and ex-cops

2007-0219 - One News - Former officers on trial again

2007-0219 - Radio NZ - Court hears evidence from complainant in police rape trial

2007-0219 - Newswire - Court hears evidence from complainant in police rape trial



                        Supporting wives: Caron Schollum, Sharon Shipton, Tania Eden

Feb 19 2007 - Jury selected
The judge Judith Potter has strongly urged the jury of eight men and four women to disregard anything they've heard about the accused outside the court

2007-0219 - Radio NZ - Jury selection begins in trial for police trio re 1983-84 sex charges

2007-0219 - Three News - Jury selected for trial of assistant police commissioner

2007-0219 - Newstalk ZB - Rickards, Shipton, Schollum jury picked

Feb 17 2007 - Pre trial publicity
Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum begin another trial on 19 February. The three men have already faced a trial associated with allegations by Louise Nicholas, and were acquitted. The new trial related to allegations by another woman, about offences alleged to have occurred in the 1980s. Two of the men have been receiving legal aid.

2007-0217 - NZ Herald - Acquitted Rickards faces more sex charges

2007-0217 - Stuff - Clint Rickards due to stand trial again on Monday

2007-0218 - Sunday Star Times - Rape trial cops used $250,000

2007-0219 - Newstalk ZB - Rickards, Shipton, Schollum on trial again

2007-0219 - Newswire - Another Trial For Police Trio Over 1980s Sex Charges

2007-0219 - One News - Former police on trial again

2007-0219 - Radio NZ - Another trial for police trio re 1980s sex charges

Louise Nicholas. Also made allegations against the accused
All were acquitted in a 2006 trial