Police officer found guilty of sexually violating colleague

Sam Hurley, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Mar 2020, 4:22PM
The nearly three week trial was held in the Auckland District Court. Photo / File
The nearly three week trial was held in the Auckland District Court. Photo / File

Police officer found guilty of sexually violating colleague

Sam Hurley, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Mar 2020, 4:22PM

A police officer accused of raping his colleague has been found guilty but in a courtroom outburst has maintained his innocence.

The cop had been on trial for the past two weeks charged with indecently assaulting and sexual violating his female workmate at a Kerikeri motel during the early hours of February 5 last year.

The accused, who has interim name suppression, was part of a group of officers deployed to help police the 2019 Waitangi Day events at the Treaty Grounds last year.

As the unanimous were read out to the court by the foreman the officer's family broke down in tears in the back of the courtroom.

When the officer was brought back into the court to learn of his sentencing date he lashed out.

"F**king not guilty!" the policeman screamed, tears streaming from his face. "F**king bullsh*t!

"The truth will come out," his family said.

Judge Evangelos Thomas told the guilty man: "I can appreciate that this is a very distressing moment for you."

The officer was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

"We need to get some sort of a sense of where this came from, was this a one off act of utter stupidity or was this always going to happen or was this going to happen again?" Judge Thomas told the jury.

"There will be a lot of people of course who will be affected by this case ... He will receive a term of imprisonment for this serious offending. The question, for us, will be to try and determine what else can be done.

"And when he's eventually released, that he too is able to function again properly [in society]."

The officer and his lawyer, Paul Borich QC, claimed any sexual contact with the complainant was consensual and a "pre-arranged hook-up".

However, Crown prosecutor Fiona Culliney said the accused "helped himself" to his colleague as she lay sleeping after earlier indecently assaulting her when the two were alone in a room.

During the trial, the complainant said she woke in the dark motel room to pain.

She then reached for her phone and began recording a video. A one minute and 50 second interaction was recorded between her and the accused.

"I've denied you earlier, and I've woken up to you ****ing me," she can be heard crying.

CCTV footage also showed the accused officer "creeping" across the motel courtyard at 2.34am and slowly opening the ranch slider door of the complainant's room.

"With a sense of entitlement, which he quite clearly has, he crept into her room and he raped her," Culliney said.

"He decided he was going to get what he wanted."

More CCTV footage from the night - played to the court - also revealed lewd behaviour by several cops staying at the motel, including a senior sergeant exposing himself and a drinking game using a hollowed-out police baton.

The accused officer was stood down after the allegations emerged and a separate employment investigation will be conducted, Auckland's Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch has said.

Northland's Detective Inspector Rhys Johnston yesterday told the court the employment investigations into some of the other officers at the motel have concluded.

"The conduct of some of the people involved fell well short of expectations," he said.

An application to continue the accused officer's interim name suppression was declined by Judge Thomas but the decision has been appealed and suppression will continue until the challenge can be determined.

In a statement, Superintendent Naila Hassan said while the judicial process is not yet complete police are unable to specifically comment further on this case.

But she said police did want to acknowledge the strength of the victim over the last year and will continue to provide support to her as best as possible.

"I would like to thank the investigation team for their hard work, dedication and professionalism over the past 12 months."

Hassan did comment on the behaviour of the officers at the motel.

"The behaviour displayed by some staff on this occasion was completely unacceptable, disappointing and to say it was out of line with our values would be an understatement.

"Alongside the criminal investigation, police carried out an employment investigation into the activities of some staff for behaviour unrelated to the matter currently before the courts.

"Four staff were identified as having behaved in a way that breached our code of conduct. Three of them were dealt with within our disciplinary process and remain on active duty. The fourth officer is no longer working for the New Zealand Police.

"We cannot comment further on those matters as they are internal and New Zealand Police like any other employer has privacy obligations which we must adhere to."