Disgraced Dunedin police officer resigns

A Dunedin police officer who conducted a two and a half year campaign of harassment against a businessman has resigned.

It sounds like he jumped before he was pushed out.

ODT: Officer leaves in disgrace

Jeremy Buis was found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to do grievous bodily harm and intentional damage after a judge-alone trial in March.

Buis waged a two-and-a-half-year harassment campaign against Dunedin businessman Danny Pryde after a parking complaint led to the police officer being ticketed.

The officer was suspended from his role in February 2015 and remained on paid leave until earlier this month.

Suspended on full pay for two and a half years. That also seems disgraceful. The police have to go through processes, but that long on full pay grates.

However, Southern district police confirmed on Wednesday Buis had ”tendered his resignation earlier this month”.

”It was accepted,” Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham said.

”This resignation came prior to an agreed meeting with myself, scheduled for this Friday, regarding the outcome of the employment investigation.

It sounds like Buis resigned before he was sacked. He had to be sacked.

”As Buis no longer works for police, I am now in a position to be able to comment on his conduct, which has been a matter of public interest for some time now.

”The actions of Buis were disgraceful.

”This behaviour does not reflect on the actions of other staff in the Southern policing district.”

After an unsuccessful police investigation Pryde ended up getting evidence that proved Buis was the person responsible for the harassment.

Mr Pryde said it had been ”a living hell” and he believed he was going to be killed during the ongoing harassment.

It was awful over a long period of time for him and his family.

Supt Basham said Southern police wanted the trust and confidence of the public.

The majority of staff worked ”hard every day to provide a quality service to members of the public”.

”We understand the actions of one officer can impact on the reputation of the whole organisation,” he said.

”For that reason, these types of matters are always investigated impartially to the highest standard, with a view to holding staff accountable if they have committed a criminal offence or not acted in accordance with our values.

We hope that’s the case but it can be awkward when the police investigate one of their own.


Policeman charged with murder

A police officer handed himself in to Invercargill police after (allegedly) murdering his wife and attempting to murder a man she was with.

Stuff: Invercargill policeman Ben McLean accused of shooting wife dead, injuring man

An Invercargill policeman allegedly shot dead his wife, tried to kill the man she was with, then handed himself in at the local station.

Constable Ben McLean’s alleged Anzac Day attack could be the first of its kind in recent New Zealand history involving a serving police officer.

Verity Ann McLean died in the shooting. Garry William Duggan, who suffered several gunshot wounds, phoned emergency services at 8.19pm on Tuesday.

Ben McLean, 47, was injured in the incident, though police have not said how.

The constable was in Southland Hospital, where a bedside court hearing took place on Wednesday afternoon.

He made no plea to murdering Verity McLean and the attempted murder of Duggan.

A firearm was recovered at the scene. Basham would not say what kind of gun it was, but said it was not a police issue weapon.

McLean was not on duty at the time. He and his wife were separated.

“This is obviously a huge tragedy for everyone involved. We are dealing with three different families who are affected,” Basham said.

It is obviously awful for the families. There are three children involved, it is terrible for them with their mother dead and their father likely to be in prison for a significant length of time.

 “We are also supporting police staff … who are naturally very shocked and dismayed at what has taken place.”

This is tough for the police, but it seems to be more of domestic problem rather than a police problem, it just happens that in this case the killer was a police officer.

When asked what might have led to the shooting, his mother said, “It’s a very, very long story”.

Marriage breakups are often complicated.

While it is not clear what actually happened in this case it appears that it could be a man not being able to handle his ex partner being with someone else.

It’s sadly not uncommon for men to go to extreme lengths when they can’t deal properly with the loss of a relationship. Access to children can be a complicating factor.

A significant number of murders and attempts at murder involve domestic relationship problems. It’s hard to fathom why a man can go to such extremes when they can’t deal with failure or lose their perceived position of power over others.

Also from Stuff: Anzac Day shooting: The McLeans were a ‘role model’ family

That may be how it appeared to some, but it proved to be far from a ‘role model family’.


The Delegat sentence

A lot has been said about the Nikolas Delegat sentence for assaulting a police officer and campus watch officer.

Most seem to think the non-custodial was inadequate, but not everyone (and I’m not convinced either way).

To his credit the judge turned down name suppression, but that may backfire as the publicity and uproar could be seen as disproportional exposure.

There’s no doubt that money buys a better legal defence but there is no way of limiting how much someone can defend themselves, and there’s no way the State can provide unlimited legal aid.

RNZ: Police unhappy with son of wine magnate’s sentence

Nikolas Delegat, 19, the son of Jim Delegat, was yesterday sentenced to 300 hours of community work and a $5000 compensation payment.

The former Otago University student had been drinking heavily in March last year in Dunedin, when he got angry, and assaulted a campus watch officer.

He then punched a police officer four times in the head as she tried to restrain him.

At the sentencing yesterday, the court was told there were mitigating factors including mental health problems, and that Delegat had since undertaken rehabilitation and given up alcohol.

There’s no doubt it was a serious assault that warranted a conviction. I’m not so sure that a prison sentence would have achieved anything apart from satisfying the baying crowd.

The police who prosecuted can’t comment as this could go to appeal – in fact the police could appeal if they feel the sentence is to lenient.

The police were not commenting on the sentence given to the teenager.

Otago Coastal area commander Inspector Kelvin Lloyd issued a statement saying Constable Alana Kane, who Delegat had punched, was very grateful for the support and concern that members of the public had expressed to her.

Mr Lloyd said neither she nor the police would comment on the severity of Delegat’s sentence, nor the Police Association’s view the sentence looked too light.

But the Police Association is unhappy:

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said Delegat was represented by a top Auckland lawyer and got better treatment than other offenders.

“If the same person had been at the other end of the, shall we say, social-economic scale, and maybe poor or Polynesian or from another part of the city or the country, they probably would’ve been unlikely to have got the same consideration.”

That’s possible but contentious. And a defence lawyer has a different opinion:

One experienced defence lawyer, Grant Tyrrell, said 300 hours of community work was not a light sentence for a first assault offence.

The maximum sentence would have been 400 hours of community work, the Christchurch-based lawyer said.

“In a first offence, a community-based sentence would probably be the expected sentence.

“That’s not to undermine the seriousness of the incident but there’s a number of factors the court has to take into account, and a 300-hour community work sentence – it’s three quarters of the maximum, it’s a big sentence.”

It would be unwise to rush to judgement without knowing all the facts considered by the judge, he said.

Too late, many including media have rushed to judgement already.

I don’t know enough about comparable cases and sentences, but I am happy to question whether the sentence was severe enough, but also to question whether a prison sentence would have achieved anything but satisfy those who rush to judgement.

One thing I will predict is that defence lawyers (for defendants who can afford them) will try to use this as justification for name suppression.

Most drunken violence gets nothing like this exposure.