Focus on Police Competence
" We're making sure he's not hung out to dry. That's what tends to happen. Greg O'Connor
Former international test cricketer detective constable Trevor Franklin has hired a lawyer to help fight for his career in the police.
"At the moment, not all of the relevant information about this case is in the public arena. People need to withhold judgement until all the facts are known," said lawyer Richard Earwaker.
Franklin employed Earwaker after it was revealed last week he was in charge of the case in which three teenage girls were found to have been wrongly jailed.
Earwaker said Franklin was co-operating fully with an investigation into the police handling of the case.
A friend also said Franklin "categorically denies any criminal conduct".
The Police Association is also standing by Franklin. "We're making sure he's not hung out to dry. That's what tends to happen . . . Everyone looks for someone to blame," said association president Greg O'Connor. "We're looking after Trevor and making sure our people are fairly treated."
O'Connor said the public should remember the climate in which Auckland police were working: there were staff shortages which resulted in staff being left alone.
"People can be too early to blame an individual and ignore underlying problems," said O'Connor who urged people to wait until investigations were complete so they knew the full story.
Last week the Court of Appeal in Auckland quashed the joint conviction for aggravated robbery of McCushla (Krishla) Priscilla Fuataha, 16, Teangarua (Lucy) Akatere and Tania Mayze Vini, both 17.
Police commissioner Rob Robinson has apologised to the girls who spent seven months in Mt Eden Women's Prison.
The court was told that after the girls' trial, the crown's principle witness, 13, retracted her evidence when interviewed by private investigator and former police superintendent Bryan Rowe. She had claimed she and the three girls attacked a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Mt Roskill, Auckland, in 1999.
The victim was thumped, kicked, her head banged against a tree stump, she was cut with scissors and robbed of $10.
Rowe has said he has uncovered a series of oversights by the police that bordered on criminal offences.
An internal inquiry into the original investigation was under way which included Franklin.
Franklin played cricket for Auckland and New Zealand as an opening batsman.
He played 21 tests for New Zealand from 1983-1990, scoring 828 runs at an average of 23. He scored one test century (101 against England at Lord's, the home of cricket, in London in 1990). He played three one-day internationals for New Zealand, scoring 27 runs at an average of 9.
His career was ended when he was run over by a luggage trolley at Gatwick Airport on the tour of England in 1990. He needed major leg surgery.
Meanwhile, police national manager of internal affairs superintendent Paul Nickalls said any officer found guilty of internal charges could be penalised with a range of options.
Officers could face a maximum $500 fine, demotion, reduction in seniority, reduced pay or removal from office.
Nickalls said police were extremely tough on their own.
Police national headquarters also released statistics on the number of officers who have faced disciplinary and criminal charges since 1996. About 250 police have faced internal disciplinary charges including using unnecessary force, neglecting duty and failing to investigate and report.
Of that figure, four police have been dismissed, 10 cases were withdrawn, 10 were removed from office, two were demoted, 69 were fined, one was reprimanded, one got an adverse report, 22 disengaged, 21 resigned and 10 are still pending.
Just over 100 officers have faced criminal charges since 1996 including assault, theft, fraud, drink driving, drugs and sexual charges.
Case outcomes included: 20 dismissed, four withdrawn, one discharged, two diversions, 19 removals from office, five fines, one reprimand, one adverse report, 11 disengagements, 32 resigned and 13 are pending.
Editorial: News A10