Police statement – Labour summer camp

Police are now investigating the allegations of sexual assault at the Labour summer camp:


Investigation commences into allegations about Young Labour summer camp

A police investigation has commenced into allegations regarding a Young Labour summer camp at Waihi in February.

The first step will be to assess information available to police to determine what is required from an investigation perspective.

The investigation will be overseen by Detective Superintendent Chris Page.

We continue to encourage anyone with information they wish to discuss with police, or matters they wish to report, to contact us.

Our priority is to ensure that anyone who wishes to speak with us can feel comfortable in doing so, and to ensure that appropriate support services are available.

We will not be publicly confirming any matters regarding those who may approach police, or complaints that may be received, to ensure that individuals can feel confident in speaking to us. We will also not discuss specific investigative steps which may be undertaken, or put a timeframe on the investigation.

Further information on NZ Police’s approach to investigating sexual assault can be found here: http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/sexual-assault

Justice reform

Today’s ODT editorial looks at plans for justice reform – in particular, looking at ways to turn around the growth in prison population.

Justice Minister Andrew Little is embarking on a task which is sure to divide New Zealand, as most people have strong views on prisons, probation and sentences.

Mr Little, who is already developing into one of the Government’s most considered ministers, is proposing reform to the country’s criminal justice system and a rejection of “getting tough on crime”, a view long-held by many politicians and voters.

In the past, judges have been criticised for being too lenient  with  repeat offenders. Some of those on bail have gone on to commit horrific crimes even as they await trial. On those occasions public opinion swings behind law and order groups, calling on judges to impose the maximum sentences allowed. The calls for offenders to be denied bail to prevent them from reoffending grow louder.

Mr Little sees things differently and his vision has been  called the boldest political move in criminal justice since former justice minister Ralph Hannan convinced his National Party colleagues to abolish the death penalty in 1961.

There are many studies showing the benefits of a lower prison population, and not all of them are financial.

Mr Little says the rapid rise in prison numbers follows 30 years of public policy-making, and public discourse, that says New Zealand needs tougher sentences, more sentencing, more people serving longer sentences and the criminalising of more behaviour.

The major challenge is convincing the public what has been done for 30 years in criminal justice reform is not working. Violent offending is, in fact, increasing.

The pledge by Mr Little comes at a time when the Department of Corrections is facing major problems in housing the nearly 10,700 prisoners already incarcerated. There is room only for another 300.

Mr Little has taken on an admirable challenge by providing his vision for the justice system. He will need considerable strength to overcome the prejudicial views of a sceptical public.

‘ Tough on crime’, increasing the number of police officers and increasing sentences have been politically popular for some time, but they have not been notably successful.

I hope that Little includes a review of failed drug laws and considers alternatives to the current mess.

Police want delay in cannabis legislation

The medical cannabis legislation introduced by the incoming Government would give people who are dying a legal out clause from using cannabis, but would keep it a crime to grow or supply them with cannabis, posing some legal difficulties.

There were signs the bill was rushed to fir within Labour’s 100 days commitment.  It is now being reported that the police opposed this approach.

RNZ: Police asked for delay on cannabis legislation

The Health Minister pushed ahead with giving full legal protection to the terminally ill to use cannabis, despite advice from the police asking for that particular provision to be delayed.

The legislation currently before Parliament, means anyone terminally ill will not have to rely on the discretion of the police or the courts if they’re caught with cannabis.

If their case gets to court they can present certification from their practitioner to avoid prosecution.

Under the Bill the definition of “terminally ill” is that someone is likely to only have about 12 months to live.

Official papers obtained by RNZ show there were conflicting views among government agencies about how far the medicinal cannabis bill should go.

They show while the police supported giving terminally ill people “reassurance” they would not be prosecuted, in principle, they wanted the statutory defence deferred.

Police wanted to “ensure any legislative provision was workable” and that it would not create “unintended consequences”.

The proposed legal situation would be messy.

However, Health Minister David Clark disagreed.

“The police suggested deferring because they’re concerned about how these things are to be policed – that’s their job – we of course are concerned to be compassionate in our response.”

Futhermore, the Justice Ministry said it was a “concern” there was not legal protection for other people getting cannabis on behalf of someone who was terminally ill.

Clark dismissed this, saying he expected the Police to turn a blind eye to supplying, but that would put the police in a difficult situation.

Dr Clark said it was too difficult to extend the defence further, including defining exactly who would be supplying the cannabis in the broader network.

“And we preferred to favour the terminally ill and try to restrict, where possible, the supply of cannabis.”

More likely it was too difficult for Labour to get NZ First to agree to extend the defence further.

Nelson lawyer Sue Grey has represented many people charged with obtaining or possessing cannabis for medicinal purposes, and argued friends and family should also have the full legal protection.

“Because the sickest people can’t supply themselves and to put their family under that intense pressure of prosecution for helping a dying or sick person is just completely unfair and unjustified.”

The proposed ‘solution’ is poor.

…the Health Ministry opposed the defence for friends and family saying that would “significantly broaden the proposal”.

And it argued it could have unintended consequences:

“A person could set up a business supplying illicit cannabis to terminally ill people and argue that the exception and statutory defence cover this activity.”

So instead, people on their death bed are supposed to wish that some cannabis to relieve their suffering will fall out of the sky into their laps.

Yes, an unintended consequence of sensible legislation could mean that some non-dying cannabis users may find it a bit easier to source some product for relief. That would hardly be calamitous – cannabis use is unlikely to significantly change with sensible law changes, except for those who are suffering and want some relief.

All they can do now is suffer, or load themselves up on prescription drugs or alcohol, which cannot be any worse than a bit of cannabis.

Police and prisoner numbers

The new Government aims to increase police numbers and decrease prisoner numbers.

From the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

Strive towards adding 1800 new Police officers over three years and commit to a serious focus on combating organised crime and drugs.

Earlier this year the previous government had already committed to increasing police numbers:  Ten per cent more police to reduce crime

A $503 million package which includes increasing police staff and resources across the country will reduce crime and make our communities safer.

Police Minister Paula Bennett says the Safer Communities package announced today by the Prime Minister will provide an additional 1125 police staff over the next four years, including 880 sworn police officers.

I presume the new Government’s plans are on top of this. They also want to decrease prisoner numbers, which could be difficult if more police catch more criminals.

NZ Herald:  Govt wants to axe new prison and lower prison muster

Labour’s target is 30 per cent drop in prisoner numbers in 15 years.

The Labour-led Government wants to put the brakes on the burgeoning prison muster so it can axe plans for a new 1500-bed prison – expected to cost close to $1 billion.

The increase in remand prisoners has put pressure on the prison population in recent years and Corrections is now looming as a political battleground, with Opposition leader Bill English warning that it will test the Government.

The number of prisoners has risen since new laws in 2013 that made it tougher to grant bail, roughly doubling the number of remand prisoners to about 3000 today.

The prison muster yesterday was 10,457, well above justice sector forecasts and expected to keep rising.

Even if more police will eventually reduce crime the prisoner numbers are a problem now.

Last year the previous Government unveiled plans to add 1800 prison beds at a cost of $1 billion, with more double bunking in Ngawha Prison, a new 245-bed block in Mt Eden Prison, and the new 1500-bed prison.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said it was his “strong preference” not to build a new prison, which he called a symbol of the “abject failure of our criminal justice system”.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis echoed this sentiment, adding that construction work had yet to begin.

“I’m looking at all options to reduce the prison muster, so that it doesn’t end up being built. Officials are being sent away to work out what will have an immediate impact.

“We’ll rule out the stuff that won’t make New Zealand safer.”

Labour wants to lower the prison population by 30 per cent in 15 years, a target Little described as “ambitious”.

Little said he had no plans to revisit the bail laws, switching the focus to crime prevention, prisoner rehabilitation, and rolling out more therapeutic courts, which can divert offenders away from jail and into treatment if they plead guilty.

While all laudable goals none of that is likely to be easy or quick. They have to somehow deal with growing prisoner numbers now while trying to eventually reduce crime.

 

Dotcom settlement over police misconduct

A sudden splurge of Kim Dotcom news – he has announced he has settled with the police over misconduct over the raid – I think this is fair enough as the police seemed to take measures that were unjustified in the extent they went to.


Dotcoms Announce Settlement of Lawsuit Against New Zealand Police for Unreasonable Conduct During January 2012 Raid

Auckland, New Zealand, 3 November, 2017

Kim Dotcom and Mona Dotcom announce that they have resolved their lawsuit against the New Zealand Police in which the Dotcoms sought a remedy for their claim about the unreasonable use of force in the military-style raid of their family home in January of 2012. The Dotcoms also raised the concern that their home and family had been under intrusive visual surveillance by the Police which had not been authorised by the Court.

The complaint arose from events occurring in the early morning of January 20, 2012, when 72 police officers including the heavily armed Special Tactics Group (STG) and the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) descended on the Dotcoms’ family home in Coatesville to make a number of arrests at the request of the United States in an Internet copyright matter. Landing two helicopters just outside the family home, the entry team sprang to action, wielding M4 Bushmaster rifles.

The forces entered the Dotcom home and held the Dotcom family, staff and guests at gunpoint. The officers caused considerable damage to the Dotcom property as they stormed through the house, around the grounds and over the roof. Mona Dotcom, who was 7 months pregnant with twins, and the Dotcom children were traumatised. Neither the Dotcoms nor their guests were allowed to talk to each other or their lawyers for an unreasonable period.

The United States’ basis for the raid, online copyright infringement, is not even a crime in New Zealand.

The lawsuit against the New Zealand Police sought an acknowledgment of the harm caused to the Dotcom family, including the children, Mona and Kim.

“Today, Mona and I are glad to reach a confidential settlement of our case against the New Zealand Police. We have respect for the Police in this country. They work hard and have, with this one exception, treated me and my family with courtesy and respect. We were shocked at the uncharacteristic handling of my arrest for a non-violent Internet copyright infringement charge brought by the United States, which is not even a crime in New Zealand. They could have easily knocked at our door at a reasonable hour and advised me of my arrest. Instead, due to what I believe was a misguided desire to cater to the United States authorities and special interests in Hollywood, a simple arrest became a Hollywood-style publicity stunt tailored to appease US authorities. The New Zealand Police we know do not carry guns. They try to resolve matters in a non-violent manner, unlike what we see from the United States. We are sad that our officers, good people simply doing their job, were tainted by US priorities and arrogance.” says Kim Dotcom. “We sued the Police because we believed their military-style raid on a family with children in a non-violent case went far beyond what a civilised community should expect from its police force. New Zealanders deserve and should expect better.”

Kim Dotcom further stated, “until recently, Mona and I wanted vindication in the High Court so that those involved would take responsibility for the raid. We have taken time to consider whether a trial would be in the best interests of our family. The New Zealand Government has recently changed for the better. Our children are now settled and integrated safely here into their community and they love it. We do not want to relive past events. We do not want to disrupt our children’s new lives. We do not want to revictimise them. We want them to grow up happy. That is why we chose New Zealand to be our family home in the first place. We are fortunate to live here. Under the totality of the circumstances, we thought settlement was best for our children.”

Ron Mansfield, New Zealand counsel for the Dotcoms, stated, “the Dotcoms hope that this action has brought the Police misconduct to everyone’s attention and that it has led to change in the way Police will handle future similar operations. The misconduct of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which accepts that it also unlawfully spied on the Dotcom family by the interception of private communications over an extended period, remains before the Court. The GCSB refuses to disclose what it did or the actual private communications it stole. The Dotcoms understandably believe that they are entitled to know this. That action is pending appeal in the Court of Appeal.”


NZ Herald repeat most of this but add:

The settlement came after a damages claim was filed with the High Court over what was considered an “unreasonable” use of force when the anti-terrorism Special Tactics Group raided his $30 million mansion in January 2012.

The raid was part of a worldwide FBI operation to take down Dotcom’s Megaupload file-sharing website which was claimed to be at the centre of a massive criminal copyright operation.

Dotcom and three others were arrested and await extradition to the United States on charges which could land them in prison for decades.

The NZ Herald has learned earlier settlements were reached between police and others arrested, including Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann.

It was believed their settlements were six-figure sums and it is likely Dotcom would seek more as the main target in the raid.

 

No charges after Todd Barclay re-investigation

The police say they have no new evidence of that justifies re-opening the case against ex-MP Todd Barclay so no charges will be laid.

A number of news reports implied that this decision was because Barclay again refused to talk to the police, but as for anyone else that’s his right and a right that is commonly claimed on legal advice.

It wasn’t the reason for no charges being laid, as with any case police have to find sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution and they say they have not been able to do that. New information given to them and new interviews did not make a viable case.

Stuff:  No charges from Todd Barclay re-investigation – police

Police reopened an investigation into allegations Barclay, the former MP for Clutha-Southland, illegally recorded a staff-member after it emerged in June that former prime minister Bill English had been a key witness in the case.

Police have now closed the case as they have insufficient evidence.

“After a thorough review of all information available to us, including legal advice both internal and from Crown Law, plus consideration of the Solicitor General’s prosecution guidelines, Police has (sic) determined that there is no change to the outcome of the original investigation,” Assistant Commissioner (Investigations) Richard Chambers said.

Police rejected criticisms of the initial investigation and any claim that witnesses had been coerced.

“We are aware that the original investigation has been subject to some criticism,” Chambers said.

“While we recognise the strong interest in this matter, the foundation of any decision to seek warrants or to prosecute is always the evidence available to us.”

“Speculation, hearsay and third party information does not in itself constitute such evidence.”

Neither do concerted attempts to score political hits with no evidence.

Stuff details the whole shemozzle:  How the Todd Barclay story got here

 

The Bradbury story: ‘unlawful’ access of bank records

This would appear to be big Bomber story, from NZH: Hunt for Rawshark sees police rapped again for ‘unlawful’ search of banking records

Police have again been caught unlawfully harvesting private banking information in the search for the hacker behind the Dirty Politics book.

This time it is activist and journalist Martyn Bradbury who has been drawn into the police investigation.

And this time police inquiries are said to have had an awful impact, leading to two suicidal episodes.

Bradbury’s is the latest case of police unlawfully exploiting the Privacy Act to get personal banking information without getting a court order.

The practice has been ruled unlawful after Bradbury – who runs The Daily Blog website – complained to the Privacy Commissioner.

Bradbury told the NZ Herald he uncovered the police probe after being rejected for credit by his bank.

He said he became suspicious because the “extensions of credit weren’t extravagant and the manner in which the declines occurred just seemed odd”.

When Bradbury sought information through the Privacy Act, he discovered that detectives working on the Rawshark case had made a request for his records saying they were investigating “computer fraud”.

Bradbury had publicly indicated some knowledge of the Rawshark hack of Slater so I guess the Police could have seen him as possibly involved, but illegal access of his bank accounts seems excessive.

Detectives did so quoting a section of the Privacy Act allowing those holding data to ignore people’s privacy if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe it would help “maintenance of the law”.

The ruling from Privacy Commissioner John Edwards found police gave Bradbury’s bank no information to make an assessment of whether the request was “reasonable”.

Edwards rejected police submissions that the request only lacked supporting information for the bank to make a proper decision.

Even if police had provided the information, Edwards said detectives “were not justified” in asking for the banking records without a legal order from a judge.

“It is our view the request for your banking records, given their sensitivity, ought to have been placed before a judicial officer for decision on whether it met the grounds for a production order.”

He said the “nature and the scope of the request was unfair and unreasonably intrusive”.

The request for information was “unlawful” because it was constituted a “search” and the Bill of Rights stated “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search”.

He said the “nature and the scope of the request was unfair and unreasonably intrusive”.

The request for information was “unlawful” because it was constituted a “search” and the Bill of Rights stated “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search”.

Bradbury, who insisted he has no connection to or knowledge of the hacking of Slater’s computers, said: “They should have taken it to a judge and got a warrant.”

Instead, they sought “everything they could get their hands on”.

Yes, the police should have got a warrant.

But Bradbury’s claim he had no knowledge of the hacking is interesting. I posted this in October 2014: On Hager and “Dirty Politics and dirty politics

Two days before the launch of Hager’s book left wing activist, blogger and big noter Martyn Bradbury posted:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

When his “guesses” were queried he responded on Twitter:

pfft – Nicky contacted me months ago asking specific questions which helped my guesses – the lesson is read TDB

It is hard to know whether his ‘guesses’ were simply that and he had only vague knowledge, or if they were attempts to disguise any connection to the hack. Bradbury is fairly well known to claim or imply more inside knowledge than anyone trusts him with.

The police may or may not have known of Bradbury’s blowhardness.

Bradbury said the credit requests were to help keep The Daily Blog going and getting knocked back triggered a huge depressive episode.

He said he had lived with depression since suffering a brain injury aged 18 from a car accident.

“Over the last five years that depression has become very difficult to manage and the financial stress of not extending credit all combined in late 2016 in two suicidal episodes.

“When your little black dog morphs and mutates into a huge black bear, you’re looking for anything that will ease the anguish and pain.”

Oh jeez. It’s hard to know what to think or feel about this.

Felix Geiringer, the barrister who acted for Hager overturning the police search warrant, said it was hard to understand any “credible basis” for including Bradbury in the Rawshark inquiry.

He said police appeared to have sought Bradbury’s records to try and establish the hacker was paid to carry out the hack. “There’s no evidence that took place in this case. There’s none.”

Geiringer said Bradbury – like Hager – was a journalist which conveyed specific protections around searches.

Bradbury is a sort of a journalist, similar to Cameron Slater – they investigate and they publish, but they are also political activists and as far as I understand they have both received payment for political work, so journalism and activism get muddy.

It was the same issue which the High Court rapped police in the Hager case, he said.

The NZ Herald has previously shown how police have used the Privacy Act exploit to gain banking details of potentially thousands of people without any court or judicial order – and that at least one bank has used it to red-flag customers.

The practice was widespread when the NZ Herald exposed it in 2013 and saw police headquarters offer assurances that it would not be used to access detailed banking records.

Yet police continued to use the exploit, not only in the Rawshark investigation against Nicky Hager, but in cases identified across the country.

I presume the investigation of Bradbury was some time ago, the Police say “no officers are currently assigned to the investigation” of the Rawshark hack.

I hope Police practices regarding seeking bank records has improved somewhat.


Bradbury took his story to the herald but is still claiming ‘exclusive’ on posts at The Daily Blog.

EXCLUSIVE: The Rawshark Investigation & secret Police mass surveillance program against 100 000 NZers

The NZ Police have lied about the scope of their investigation into who hacked Cameron Slater’s computer. It was originally just Nicky Hager, but it also included myself and possibly several other left wing activists and senior figures within the political left including the Labour Party.

EXCLUSIVE: My case against a secret NZ Police investigation that breached my privacy and my civil rights

It’s not important to like or dislike my work, but I think we can all agree that allowing the Police to conduct secret investigations into activists and political bloggers that then damage their reputation negatively based on spurious grounds isn’t acceptable in a liberal democracy.

Let me start by categorically stating, I never hacked Cameron Slater’s computer and have no idea who hacked Cameron Slater’s computer for the information that appeared in Nicky Hager’s book, ‘Dirty Politics’.

 

Police recently visited Whangarei killer

In a new development in the Whangarei shooting, in which two female property inspectors were shot dead and a maintenance man injured, the police have revealed that they visited the property last month.

RNZ:  Whangarei shooting: Police recently visited killer

Quinn Patterson killed property manager Wendy Campbell, 60, and her 37-year-old daughter Natanya on Wednesday morning when they visited his home with a contractor to install smoke alarms. The contractor was also shot, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said police investigated a structure being built there last month, and were told it was to be used for target practice.

Police decided it was a tenancy matter, rather than one for them.

Police said the visit to the property formed part of the ongoing investigation into Patterson’s background.

There have been reports that Patterson, aged in his 50s, had multiple guns and other weapons, including grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

People using firearms in rural areas is common. There can be many legitimate and innocent reasons for using them.

I wouldn’t mind if police asked to see my firearms license just as a check.

Perhaps if there are any checks on rural properties it should include a check of whether firearms are present and whether there are firearms licenses.

IPCA clear Police on Barclay investigation

At least one complaint was made to the Independent Police Complaints Authority about the police investigation into Todd Barclay in Clutha-Southland. The IPCA has cleared the police.

RNZ: IPCA won’t pursue Barclay investigation complaint

The police watchdog has decided not to pursue a complaint about the handling of last year’s investigation into embattled Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay.

No charges were laid after several months of inquiries into a recording Mr Barclay was alleged to have made of a staffer in the Gore electorate office.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) received a complaint in June, but said it was satisfied there was no misconduct or neglect by police investigating the case.

It has notified the complainant and the Police Commissioner, and has closed its file.

At the time Mr Barclay declined to co-operate with the police investigation, and it has since been reopened.

The investigation was reopened after Barclay and Bill English made public statements about what happened.

Some people will never have been happy with an outcome like this. Winston Peters has already had a grizzle about it.

Stuff: IPCA clear police of any wrong doing in the handling of the Todd Barclay secret recording investigation

“In my view, the police haven’t satisfactorily answered why they didn’t pursue the case. They had complaints of a recording, they had a complainant and to the best of my knowledge we have not been told who they talked to or didn’t talk to,” Peters said.

“But to say they’re satisfied there was no misconduct is an extraordinary statement to make.”

It’s not extraordinary if they investigated thoroughly and that was the conclusion they came to.

IPCA complaint laid over Barclay investigation

Someone has laid a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority over the handling of the inquiry into Todd Barclay last year.

The Police had reopened their inquiry last week.

Stuff:  Complaint over police handling of Todd Barclay case received by Independent Police Conduct Authority

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has received a complaint about police handling of the original investigation into the allegations of embattled National MP Todd Barclay’s involvement in a secret taping scandal.

Last week police re-opened the case and authority case resolution manager Sarah Goodall said the complaint about the original investigation was received on June 21, sparked by renewed media interest in the case.

It came from someone not personally involved in the case and was thus classified as a “principled complaint,” Goodall said.

“We are currently assessing information in accordance with our normal processes and determining what, if any, action to take,” Goodall said.

I really don’t know what the point of this complaint is. Trying to make a point or pressure the Police into doing more when inquiring into matters involving politicians?

This complaint shouldn’t affect the current inquiry, unless the aim is to apply more pressure on the Police.

Barclay has already lost his political career.  There has already been a confidential employment settlement that seems to have involved a substantial sum of money.

The recording allegation hardly seems to be a major crime – many didn’t realise it was a crime. Video recordings are legal, audio are illegal in some circumstances.