Rape, assault, theft: Eight security guards lose jobs for crimes

Open Justice,
Publish Date
Mon, 23 May 2022, 9:17am
The authority that issues security guard accreditation in New Zealand has cancelled eight accreditations from 16 complaints lodged this year. Photo / 123RF
The authority that issues security guard accreditation in New Zealand has cancelled eight accreditations from 16 complaints lodged this year. Photo / 123RF

Rape, assault, theft: Eight security guards lose jobs for crimes

Open Justice,
Publish Date
Mon, 23 May 2022, 9:17am

A personal security guard who assaulted someone in his family is among eight security workers who've had their operating licences cancelled this year. 

Complaints made to the authority that issues the licences include security guards having committed offences including rape, threatening to kill, burglary, beating up bar patrons, assaulting police and stealing from an employer. 

Gurjit Singh Dhillon first came to the police's attention for matters on which he was acquitted, but his certificate of approval was cancelled this month following an amended police complaint. 

Police advised the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority that Dhillon was convicted of assault on a person in a family relationship while on bail in relation to the earlier matters. 

The eight cancellations this year arose from 16 complaints, lodged mostly by police. While the authority took a hard line in half the cases, it also gave a second chance to two patched Black Power members, including one who was also sergeant of arms of the Papakura chapter, whose certification would be reassessed at renewal time. 

According to the last Census in 2018, there were 9378 security guards working in New Zealand. The industry has been under pressure in recent years due to the extra demands brought on by the pandemic. 

Part-time security guard Logova Tafa Asiata was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison in March 2019 after DNA linked him to the historical rape of a teenager in Napier. 

His Certificate of Approval which allowed him to work as a personal guard, crowd controller and property guard was valid until April 2024, but has now been cancelled. 

The licensing authority said in its decision this year it had recently been advised of the rape conviction and prison sentence. 

It added that Asiata failed to disclose any grounds for disqualification of the operating certificate, which amounted to misconduct. 

A security guard who used the company fuel card to steal almost $2000 worth of fuel has also had his certificate cancelled. 

Security firm owner Brett Wilson was granted leave to file a complaint against worker Jerome Tekeeti on March 18 this year, alleging theft of $1891 worth of fuel, which Tekeeti later admitted. 

Wilson also claimed Tekeeti, who had approval to work as a crowd controller, document destruction agent, personal guard and property guard, had falsified his work records at various times. 

Tekeeti has since resigned from the firm, and his certification was cancelled this month. 

The director of a security firm who threatened to kill someone has been disqualified from holding approval, along with his company. 

The police lodged a complaint against security company director Anthony Wright in October 2021 after he was charged with threatening to kill, assault and possession of an offensive weapon. 

Wright, who was the sole director of Pro Security Limited, was convicted in February this year, which was a mandatory ground for cancellation of his certificate of approval. 

The authority also found the company was no longer suitable to hold a company licence, which was also cancelled last month. 

At the same time, the authority dismissed a complaint against a security guard accused of racially profiling a woman at the Auckland Central Library. 

Marie Thompson laid the complaint after the guard followed her up the stairs because she was drinking from a water bottle. The guard's explanation was that he had wanted to check the library rules about water for the research area where she was working. 

Thompson alleged it was misconduct, and that she had been racially profiled. The guard, named as Mr Y, was employed by the Red Badge Group Limited, which the authority said had taken appropriate steps when informed of the complaint. 

The authority said there was no evidence to establish that Thompson's race or ethnicity was a motivating factor in the way she was treated. 

"Even if there was, his conduct was not such that a reasonable person would consider it to be disgraceful, willful, or reckless," the authority said in its decision released last month. 

Licensed crowd controller Tobias Sheridan allegedly repeatedly punched a patron he was trying to remove from his workplace. His approval was suspended after assault charges were laid, and it has now been cancelled. 

Sheridan completed diversion in relation to the offence therefore the charges against him were dismissed, but the police maintained the complaint due to the nature of the offence. 
Misconduct in the course of working as a security officer was a discretionary ground for the cancellation of a COA, and the complaint was upheld. 

And finally, a man convicted on a charge of assaulting a police officer has failed to convince the authority that attending anger management courses was sufficient reason for him to keep his certification. 

Since he was granted his certificate in 2021 Michael Patira has been convicted of two disqualifying offences, including the police assault in August 2021 and an assault charge the following month. 

Patira said he had attended anger management courses which had helped him to mature, learn self-control and resist temptation. Since the complaint hearing Patira has again been arrested for assault and cultivating cannabis. 

"Mr Patira's representations at the time he was granted his COA have been proved not to be the case by his recent offending. 

"I am satisfied that Mr Patira's convictions make him unsuitable to hold a certificate," the authority said. 

- Tracy Neal, Open Justice