Allegations of abuse by NZ Police

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This page last updated June 2 2007

March 9 2007; Selective morality of Hubbard and Prime Minister highlighted
Jim Hopkins writes. "According to Auckland's Mayor, Mr Rickards' conduct 25 years ago demonstrates a standard of behaviour that is "unacceptable" and "unbecoming". No past tense there. It is unacceptable. Clint Rickards may have been acquitted - but only by a jury. Twice. After (in one case at least) hearing the testimony of accuser and accused. But they didn't hear Mr Hubbard or the Prime Minister. She's certain whatever happened all those years ago wasn't consensual. The women were younger. The men were older. And in uniform. Case closed.

No matter that the Police knew about this in 1994 and considered it such "disgraceful conduct" that they subsequently promoted Mr Rickards four times, because things have changed. Close as they are to the Beehive, his commanders have seen the light and are now quite happy to (disgracefully?) leak any bit of dirt (Sex on car bonnet - Rickards faces new claim - Herald, March 3) that might blacken his reputation.

A Cabinet Minister facing historic allegations of assault can be reinstated after arguing that times were different then and he is a changed man now, but there'll be no such redemption for Clint. Perhaps we expect a higher standard of our Police than we do of our Cabinet Ministers. Perhaps forgiveness, like morality, is selective.

2007-0309 - NZ Herald - Life is good - for some

March 9 2007; Prime Minister attack on Rickards noted
The National Business Review referred to the Prime Minister "wading into" the case by "delivering a scathing attack on would-be police commissioner Clint Rickards after he was found not guilty of rape"

2007-0309 - National Business Review - The two hot scandals of the week

March 8 2007; Call for tougher sentences for false rape claims

Men's lobby group Union of Fathers, drove back and forwards past the Auckland rally heckling over the loud speaker and calling for 10-year jail sentences for those who made false claims of rape

2007-0308 - Stuff - Protest ends with police dummy set alight 

March 8 2007; Protests in Wellington and Auckland about rape

Vanessa Cameron-Lewis

In Wellington, a protest involving a few hundred women blocked the street outside the police station.
The protesters were confronted by a line of female officers barring the entrance. Protester Vanessa Cameron-Lewis (bottom left above) screamed as it appeared she was being denied entry to the station

Later, outside the High Court, an effigy of a police officer was burned and the words "Justice for Rape Survivors" were sprayed in red paint on the court doors.
Organiser  Lenka Rochford says it shows the community is fed up with the justice system and its lack of support for rape victims.

In Auckland, traffic came to a standstill as a police escort led more than 250 people in an anti-rape march down Queen St. Auckland Women's Centre spokeswoman Leonie Morris called for a full investigation into the justice system.  Rape survivor and Green MP Sue Bradford called for an apology from the police. Another rape survivor said she was "put on trial" as a victim: She was cross-examined..

In Christchurch about 10 women turned up for a candlelight vigil. Organiser Jo Paine says those present signed a card which thanks the complainants in the rape trials for their "courage", describing them as "brave, strong and truthful".

Former MP Laila Harre said that while those accused of serious crimes had a right to justice and to be heard, the victims in the rape cases had not withdrawn their accusations. "And those accusations still stand," "This was an abuse of power and it has to stop,"

Area Commander for the Wellington City Police, Inspector Peter Cowan, says the women acted hypocritically with their semi-violent display.He says police support the pleas for an end to violence and are disappointed by the women's actions
The protest marches were misguided. The organisers may describe the rape complainants as "brave, strong and truthful" but their support for two complainants who are very likely better described as malicious liars provides little credibility for the march objectives. demands that justice reform consider the interest of victims of rape, as well as victims of false allegations of rape. To prevent any miscarriage of justice, cross examination of all witnesses should and must remain.

2007-0308 - Three News - International Women’s day marked with nationwide protests   

2007-0308 - Three News - Effigy burned as protesters march in aid of sex abuse victims    

2007-0308 - Stuff - Protest ends with police dummy set alight   

2007-0308 - Radio NZ - Protesters burn effigy of police officer

2007-0308 - One News - Protesters vent fury over police trial

2007-0308 - Newstalk ZB - Masked women become vandals on march

2007-0309 - Radio NZ - Protests over outcome of police sex trials

2007-0309 - One News - Rape protesters deface high court

2007-0309 - NZ Herald - Protesters meet the femme blue line

2007-0309 - Newswire - Protests Over Outcome Of Police Sex Trials

2007-0309 - Dominion Post - The face of fury

2007-0309 - Timaru Herald - Women officers front protesters

March 8 2007; Protests expected
Demonstrations are due to be held in Wellington and Auckland today to demand changes to the way sex offences are handled
Sue Bradford
Rape Survivor and
Green Party MP
Green MP Sue Bradford says she empathises with the women who were "brave enough" to go through the recent trials. She wants the police to publicly apologise for an alleged historic culture of abuse and violence

Louise Nicholas
Sue Bradford

Louise Nicholas:
Brave, or a malicious liar?

Clint Rickards claims his acquittals prove the women were malicious liars

Protest spokesperson Jasmine Gray says "We stand behind rape survivors and will demand their justice"."The statistics are evidence that the justice system reinforces sexism and injustice for rape survivors". Organiser Lenka Rochford says the idea is to support rape survivors who she says the justice system has failed. Another organiser, Frances Martin, says society needs to stick up for women in what she calls sisterly solidarity

The National Council of Women say that "recent events have highlighted the chasm between what a woman considers as sexual violence and what some men perceive as consensual sexual connection"

2007-0308 - Three News - Protests expected today over Police sex trial acquittals   

2007-0308 - Three News - Bradford signals support for anti-Police protests   

2007-0308 - Scoop - Supporters and Rape Survivors Call for Changes

2007-0308 - One News - Protests planned for rape justice

2007-0308 - One News - Bradford wants police apology;

2007-0308 - NZ Herald - Marches for rape victims in Auckland, Wellington tonight  

2007-0308 - Newstalk ZB - Rally in support of rape victims   

2007-0308 - Newstalk ZB - Police let marchers go on

2007-0308 - National Council Women - IWD Highlights Violence Towards Women

March 8 2007; Lawyers present arguments for and against reinstatement
The NZ Herald asked two lawyers to present hypothetical arguments for and against reinstatement

Shan Wilson:  Clint Rickards criticisms of the investigating team who brought his prosecution was inappropriate;
Comments that referred to being, a friend of convicted rapists were also damaging. Also, Mr Rickards had questioned the court's process in delivering Schollum and Shipton's past guilty verdicts. Code of conduct regulations could be cited; There was a question about Mr Rickard's integrity as he had failed to stand down after admitting that what he had done was morally wrong.

Maria Berryman:
"What we're really looking at is that if he's going to be dismissed, the employer is relying on the fact that this is serious misconduct. What is the misconduct that the employer is relying on?  "In terms of the law, the employer does have a duty to consider mitigating factors and alternatives to dismissal. "In this situation you've got someone in a senior position for 20 years or more. "There is a duty on police to consider alternatives to dismissal

2007-0308 - NZ Herald - Lawyers give their arguments on whether Rickards should stay or go

March 8 2007; Clint Rickards appeals for funding from Police Managers Guild
The Police Managers Guild has confirmed Assistant Commissioner Rickards has asked it for a contribution towards any legal costs he may have to pay in his employment case.

Guild President, Inspector Rob Abbott, says it has asked Mr Rickards for more information before making a decision on any financial help. The Guild did not pay anything towards Mr Rickards' $500,000 plus legal fees for defending his two criminal trials.

Former Auckland district commander Ross Dallow says Clint Rickards shouldn't expect any financial help from the Police Managers Guild

2007-0308 - Three News - Rickards appeals for funding to keep his job

2007-0308 - Newswire - Rickards Seeks Union’s Financial Support

2007-0308 - NZ Herald - Rickards wants colleagues to chip in

2007-0308 - Radio NZ - Clint Rickards has asked for financial support from union

2007-0308 - Three News - Guild warns Rickards not to expect financial assistance

March 8 2007; What "Not Guilty" means
Keth Rankin discusses what a "Not Guilty" verdict means, in relation to the recent police rape trials

2007-0308 - NZ Herald - A different standard of proof

March 8 2007; Police Standards discussed
Rosemary McLeod questions standards of police conduct, especially with regards to group sex and adult men having group sex with "girls" even if they are willing. She suggests that fact that the complainants were willing to "risk humiliation of not guilty verdicts" indicates that the complainants should be believed.

2007-0308 - Dominion Post - Have you ever had group sex?;

Significant discussion associated with the case appears to mix up the separate issues of criminal responsibility for rape, the personal opinions of many people about consensual sexual practices such as group sex, and the standards of conduct that the public should expect from police.

The defendants were charged with a serious crime. The evidence suggests strongly that Clint Rickards was justified in making the comment that the complainants in both trials were malicious liars, and that he is actually innocent of rape.  McLeod appears to concede ("even if they are willing") that the verdict was correct, but then says she is "sympathetic" to the complainants on the basis of standards of conduct she expects of the police and her opinion of group sex.

The standards of conduct for police are employment issues for the police to determine, taking into account public expectations. And should play no part in a criminal trial.

If Rosemary McLeod or the Prime Minister think that group sex should be illegal, or that the legal age of consent should be raised they should advocate law change. If other politicians and protesters consider that rape complainants must be believed, they should also advocate law changes that will provide automatic guilty verdicts for anybody they care to accuse. And to hell with justice.

Clint Rickards has already been unnecessarily put through the ordeal of two criminal trials.  He should not continue to be a pawn in the political agendas of others.

March 7 2007; NZ First MP believes political comment on employment inappropriate
New Zealand First MP Ron Mark believes it is inappropriate for MPs to be commenting on the future employment of suspended assistant police commissioner Clint Rickards. National leader John Key and United Future's Peter Dunne have called on Mr Rickards to resign, despite being acquitted in two trials of charges including the kidnapping and indecent assault of a teenager in the 1980s

2007-0307 - Newstalk ZB - MPs urged to keep out of Rickards debate

March 7 2007; Continuing debate over suppressed evidence in trial
The Taranaki Daily News says in an editorial "People with all manner of agendas are climbing on the bandwagon rumbling along in the wake of the so-called police rape trials. There is a rising clamour to dispense with the judicial tradition of keeping secret all prior convictions. At least there is a selectively rising clamour to dispense with prior convictions in sex cases -- most significantly featuring comments by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and being passionately campaigned by the organisers of a protest about the conduct and results of these trials and rape trials generally. ……   But cautions "the overriding object of the exercise is a fair trial that makes every possible attempt to avoid wrongful, prejudicial conviction"

A Press release by "Downtown Community Ministries" thinks that the Law Commission will make a recommendation to change the law, but does not explain why.

2007-0307 - Taranaki Daily News - A dangerous time to consider dumping a wise legal tradition

2007-0307 - "Downtown Community Ministries"  - Personal Disclosure

March 7 2007; Rickards support of Shipton and Schollum questioned
Journalist Tapu Misa says Clint Rickard's "outspoken support of his mates" is "blurring of the line between right and wrong" and that this shows he was never a good police officer. She justifies this assertion on her claim that there was compelling evidence of their guilt for which they were convicted.

This site disagrees. Clint Rickards support for Shipton and Schollum is based on his belief that there was a miscarriage of justice involved in the Mt Maunganui convictions of Shipton and Schollum. He is not claiming that the crime of rape for which they were convicted is "right".  He is claiming that a miscarriage of justice is wrong. His willingness to speak out about a possibility of a miscarriage of justice is actually evidence of being a good police officer

2007-0307 - NZ Herald - There are no ifs and buts when assessing goodness

March 7-8 2007; Anti-police "backlash"
Superintendent Grant O'Fee, Tasman district commander, admitted officers "were going through difficult days." Evidence of this comes with mock police posters, and the planned women's "march against police rape"

Police Association president Greg O'Connor urged people to separate the actions of a small group of officers two decades ago from those of today's officers, many of whom were women

The Green Party has given it's support to the planned marches: Green MP Sue Bradford says "sex between a young woman and a group of older men in positions of authority will almost always be about violence and power, even when it is deemed consensual by some". Green MP Nandor Tanczos said that regardless of the jury verdict, the behaviour admitted by the defendants was in his view unethical and abusive of their positions as police officers. Green MP Sue Kedgley says it is crucial that women who are rape victims are protected in court.

This site agrees with Sue Kedgley, but adds that it is equally as important that men who are false allegation victims are also protected in court.  Protection against false allegations is particularly pertinent at the end of a trial where there was strong evidence that the complainant was not telling the truth and was therefore not a rape victim at all.

Police Minister Annette King says Southland police have been caught in a wave of anti-police sentiment in the wake of sex cases

Police have confirmed that front-line officers are being goaded over the outcome of the sex trials. Acting Bay of Plenty District Commander John Canning says that, particularly in conflict situations, some people have tried to push officers' buttons

The Nelson Mail, in an editorial says that the "mocking posters" are a sign of the times. Regardless of the acquittals in the latest trial and the Louise Nicholas case last year, the public's perception of the police has taken a hammering. Simon Cunliffe called the posters "shameful" by choosing "to visit the morally repugnant activities of a group of officers in the 80s on the entire contemporary police force"

2007-0307 - NZ Herald - 'Decent' frontline seen as taking brunt of anti-police backlash

2007-0307 - Dominion Post - Posters mock sex case cops

2007-0307 - Manawatu Standard - Police not amused by posters

2007-0307 - Green Party - Police need to convince women culture has changed

2007-0308 - Southland Times - Southland police caught in fallout from recent sex cases

2007-0308 - One News - Bradford wants police apology;

2007-0308 - Nelson Mail - Mocking posters a sign of the times

2007-0309 - The Press - 'Prank' police poster shameful

March 7 2007; More Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Press and Dominion Post, almost all critical of those acquitted.

2007-0307 - Dominion Post - Letters to the Editor

2007-0307 - The Press - Letters to the Editor