Allegations of abuse by NZ Police

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This page last updated June 1 2007

March 6 2007; Poster campaign against the police

A scathing poster campaign is underway in Wellington attacking the credibility of the thin blue line following the recent police indecent assault trial. The poster mimics the current police recruitment campaign poster, based on the theme of getting better work stories. It invites people to join the police to hear great rape stories

Annette King

Annette King

Minister of Police Annette King says it is an appalling slur on thousands of good and honest Kiwis who police New Zealand with integrity and respect. She says the poster is "ugly and vicious"

National Party police spokesman Chester Borrows adds it is hugely unfair to taint 7,500 police officers with the actions of three or four.

A Wellington activist, Grace Millar of Women Against Rape, didn't organise the poster campaign but supports those who did.

Police Superintendent Grant O'Fee says the posters are offensive to those victims of rape and sexual abuse and to members of Police

Lenka Rochford
Lenka Rochford

Lenka Rochford, a spokeswoman for a group of Wellington women who last year broke court suppression orders said "We think the posters are brilliant and applaud the people behind them,"

2007-0306 - NZ Herald - Posters offend officers and rape victims, say police

2007-0306 - NZ Herald - Anti-police poster under attack

2007-0306 - Newstalk ZB - Police rape poster campaign hits Capital

2007-0306 - Newstalk ZB - Anti-police poster slammed

2007-0306 - One News - Posters attack police credibility

2007-0306 - One News - Police minister slams mock posters

2007-0306 - NZ Police - Posters offensive

2007-0306 - Newswire - Minister Appalled At Bogus Recruiting Post

2007-0306 - Radio NZ - King appalled

2007-0306 - Radio NZ - Police minister appalled at bogus recruiting poster

2007-0306 - Stuff - King attacks 'great rape stories' poster

2007-0306 - Stuff - Police appeal for public support

March 5-6 2007; Police claim their reputation suffering because of sex trial
It is believed many of Mr Rickards' colleagues are unsettled by the fallout from the case. One Auckland policeman, who did not want to be named, says it is now common for officers to be called rapists by the people they are arresting. He says staff feel as if they have been tarred with the same brush as former officers Shipton and Schollum who, it was revealed after the High Court case, are already serving jail terms for the rape of a woman in Mt Maunganui in the late 1980s

An ex police officer, Lance Corcoran defends the police investigation, following criticism by Clint Rickards. He says "today, the police are much better equipped to deal with such matters appropriately"

2007-0305 - Newstalk ZB - Police tainted by sex trial

2007-0306 - Timaru Herald - Rickards case

March 5 2007; Reshuffle Auckland police top jobs; Not related to Rickards case
There has been a change of guard in the top ranks of Auckland's police force, but Police say it has nothing to do with suspended commander Clint Rickards.

2007-0305 - Three News - Reshuffle of Auckland's top Police

March 5 2007; Police Complaints Authority to review Investigation
The Police Complaints Authority is to review how an investigation into claims of sexual abuse by police officers in the 1980s, was run. Mr Rickards has described the police investigation known as Operation Austin, into complaints from several women, as a shambles, and insists he should be reinstated. He has claimed that witnesses were coached and that police overlooked inconsistencies in complainants' evidence.

2007-0305 - Newswire - PCA To Review Investigation Into 1980s Sex Claims

2007-0305 - Radio NZ - No comment - Police HQ

2007-0305 - Radio NZ - Review by PCA

March 5-6 2007; March to protest acquittal being organised
Marches being organised in Auckland and Wellington to protest the recent acquittal of Bob Schollum, Brad Shipton, and assistant police commissioner, Clint Rickards. "We will be voicing our absolute disgust at a system that suppresses valid information and supports rape culture," says event organisers.

Spokeswoman Jasmine Gray said the group did not accept the verdict of a jury last Thursday.     "I don't think it's necessarily the facts that are being disputed. It's interpretations," she said.

2007-0305 - Scoop - Auckland to Protest Police Rape Acquittal

2007-0305 - Stuff - Protest march planned over acquittals

2007-0306 - NZ Herald - March to demand sex case changes

March 5-6 2007; Suppression of evidence
The Waikato Times editorial says the outcome of the trial would quite probably have been any different had the suppressed evidence been known. "Which just proves how vital it was the 12 jury members in both trials were kept in the dark".  Suppression orders and a block on criminal backgrounds are there for a reason: to help juries decide cases on fact. That's something to remember for those misguided enough to try and reveal the Shipton/Schollum convictions after the Nicholas trial.

The Nelson Mail editorial also says the law as it stands is appropriate. it is a long-established principle of our justice system that each case should be judged solely on the facts pertaining to it. While this is not always possible, juries must attempt to ignore prior knowledge and prejudices and deal with the facts alone. Jury members inevitably would be influenced by knowledge of past convictions
Helen Clark
The Prime Minister Helen Clark made clear her distaste for the history of group sex among the accused, and said the question of what juries were told about a defendant could be something for an organisation like the Law Commission to look at. “It has been so controversial one feels almost bound to take the matter further,” she said today

The Law Commission says it would be happy to take up the matter, if requested by the Government. However, Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer says making such a significant change around the processes that juries follow, needs careful consideration.

2007-0305 - Waikato Times - Rickards not fit to lead

2007-0305 - Nelson Mail - No way back

2007-0305 - Newswire - Trial Secrecy Rule Bound For Review

2007-0306 - The Press - PM weighs in against Rickards

2007-0306 - Radio NZ - Information disclosed to juries needs review - PM

2007-0306 - Radio NZ - PM says issue of what juries can be told warrants further attention

2007-0306 - NZ Herald - Review of convictions secrecy

2007-0306 - Nelson Mail - Schollum, Shipton and Rickards

2007-0306 - Newswire - Law Commission Happy To Examine Jury Information Issue

March 6 2007; Law expert claims Prime Minister is undermining the jury system
Helen Clark is steering clear of offering an opinion on whether Mr Rickards should return to his job. She is aware that if she entered the fray she could be accused of political interference - something Mr Rickards could use in his favour in any employment dispute. But while she has not said he should go, her open questioning of his consent defence - which a jury believed - is likely to be seen as an unsubtle hint of her views.

A constitutional law expert believes Helen Clark is undermining the jury system by making comments about Rickards. Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge says he has been cleared by two juries and it is not her place to make judgements. Hodge says we have got a jury system for a good reason and having the prime minister attack it does not help its integrity

Mr Rickards' lawyer, John Haigh, QC, said yesterday that he had "strong views" about the Prime Minister's comments. However, he did not want to enter the fray at this point "because the matter is in a sense sub judice between Mr Rickards' counsel and the police"

2007-0306 - One News - Posters attack police credibility

2007-0306 - NZ Herald - Rickards: It's a matter of pride

March 5-6 2007; Support for Clint Rickards

Willie Jackson

Former Alliance MP Willie Jackson says Mr Rickards has become the sacrificial lamb in the inquiry into police culture. He says Mr Rickards is the victim of a witch-hunt and should be allowed to return to his job.

Mr Rickards's lawyer, John Haigh, says neither he nor his client will comment.

Council for Civil Liberties president Barry Wilson said that unlike his two co-accused, Mr Rickards had no previous convictions and the public should recognise that a jury heard all the evidence and acquitted him. "The jury is there to represent the community. They are well placed to do so," Mr Wilson said. "If you want to override their verdict by a kind of collective moral panic, then it's the community that suffers."

A former police officer and MP feels sorry for Mr Rickards. Ian Revell says even although Mr Rickards has been acquitted, his high profile means he is unlikely to get his job back

2007-0305 - Radio NZ - Rickards victim of witch-hunt - former MP

2007-0306 - NZ Herald - March to demand sex case changes

2007-0306 - Newstalk ZB - Rickards believes his career destroyed

March 5-6 2007; Political pressure mounting to sack Clint Rickards
The Prime Minister Helen Clark says she will not "comment directly" on Clint Rickards' case, but immediately does so "It's absolutely clear that there's no way that anybody could condone the sort of behaviour those officers were engaged in." When asked about Mr Rickards' four promotions after police bosses became aware of some of the claims against him, Miss Clark said: "The mind boggles."  Helen Clark says it is clear Mr Rickards and other police officers abused their power in several situations

"And I do say that while there may be a legal meaning to the term consent, I have to question whether there can be any genuine consent where you have police officers in a position of responsibility in a community engaging in group sex with a teenage girl,'' she said after the weekly Cabinet meeting. "The thing which has most disturbed me about it is the abuse of power, and I just cannot see how one can use the term consensual when you have police officers in a regional town and we are talking about teenage girls.''

The Leader of the National Party, John Key said Rickards had also lost the confidence of the Opposition. United Future leader Peter Dunne says Clint Rickards' behaviour has been disgraceful and resignation is the only honourable course of action. The Greens' police spokesman Nandor Tanczos also doubts New Zealanders will have the necessary respect for him

Dick Hubbard

Auckland City Mayor Dick Hubbard does not want Clint Rickards back as district police commander for Auckland City. He says Mr Rickards' standard of behaviour is unacceptable and damages public confidence in the police.  "I don't see how any policeman could say, 'Two of my best friends are in jail for rape, and by the way I want to be head policeman in Auckland so I can protect the women folk of Auckland',"  "Mr Rickards absolutely shouldn't return to his desk"  Hubbard believes police in Auckland would lose the respect of the public if that happened

Former police minister John Banks also called for Rickards' sacking

Women's Refuge Heather Henare says the public has lost confidence in Rickards after his comments outside court that he was still friends with the convicted rapists Shipton and Schollum and that the police investigation was a shambles.

Rape-survivor/counsellor Brenda Cheyne of the HELP Foundation says it is difficult for women to have their experiences acknowledged and validated, and having Rickards back in his job would deter women from coming forward with complaints

Waikato Times editorial acknowledges there wasn't enough to convict and both juries appear to have made the right decision. What he did in his past was not illegal. But as Rickards now knows, it does not make it acceptable. Should someone with a background even they are ashamed of lead our police force? No.   The Nelson Mail also says Rickards needs to seek a new career.

Six letters to the Press, Manawatu Standard all argue against the reinstatement of Rickards, or criticise the verdict

2007-0305 - NZ Herald - Disgraced Rickards is not fit to protect Auckland's women, says Hubbard

2007-0305 - NZ Herald - Clark hints at police conduct inquiry fall-out

2007-0305 - One News - Pressure on Rickards intensifies

2007-0305 - Radio NZ - Auckland City Mayor doesn't want Rickards back as top cop

2007-0305 - Radio NZ - Clark condemns Rickards' past behaviour

2007-0305 - Radio NZ - Clint Rickards is not suitable to return

2007-0305 - Radio NZ - Nationwide outrage predicted

2007-0305 - Newstalk ZB - Hubbard not pulling punches over Rickards

2007-0305 - Newstalk ZB - PM hints police inquiry will be alarming

2007-0305 - Newstalk ZB - Backing for call to keep Rickards out

2007-0305 - Three News - Release of Police conduct inquiry could create a stir

2007-0305 - Three News - Rickards fighting for his job

2007-0305 - Three News - Recent cases show abuse of police power - Clark

2007-0305 - Stuff - We don't want Rickards back - Hubbard

2007-0305 - Waikato Times - Rickards not fit to lead

2007-0305 - Nelson Mail - No way back

2007-0306 - NZ Herald - Clark steps up pressure on Rickards

2007-0306 - Dominion Post - Pressure builds against Rickards

2007-0306 - Timaru Herald - Sack top cop call

2007-0306 - The Press - PM weighs in against Rickards

2007-0306 - ThePress - Letters to the Editor

2007-0306 - Manawatu Standard - Rickards comments

2007-0306 - Newstalk ZB - Political leaders speak out against Rickards applauds Clint Rickards' willingness to speak out about a possible miscarriage of justice:

Regardless of all other issues associated with the case of Clint Rickards, applauds the willingness of Clint Rickards to publicly support any prisoner who he personally believes is a victim of a miscarriage of justice, regardless of the obvious consequences to himself. Clint Rickards is doing nothing more than every citizen of New Zealand should be willing to do.

Clint Rickards is not saying that
'Two of my best friends are in jail for rape' as Mayor Hubbard suggests. Clint Rickards is saying that two of his best friends are in jail as a consequence of a false allegation of rape.

The difference is significant.

The view of Dick Hubbard and Womens Refuge that public figures should not care about possible miscarriages of justice should be condemned.