The family of a witness in a West Auckland homicide investigation have been sent images of the man’s body by people connected to one of the men accused of his murder.
The case is Operation Pelorus, the inquiry into the killing of security guard Ramandeep Singh at the Royal Reserve car park a week before Christmas last year.
A teenager and a man in his 20s were arrested soon after and are charged with murdering the 25-year-old Armourguard patrolman.
Lawyers for the two men were sent large volumes of evidence by police as part of disclosure rules ahead of criminal trials.
They included graphic photos of the victim’s body, witness statements and other evidence, as is standard practice.
The Herald understands the family of one witness was sent some of this evidence by people connected to one of the accused.
It is understood the family were shocked and disturbed to receive the material.
Disclosure is a vital part of criminal trials and it is standard practice for defence lawyers to share evidence they receive with their clients.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the Auckland lawyer involved, who said he was unable to comment.
Failures in disclosure last year led to a murder trial being aborted in Auckland.
- Teen in court charged with murder of security guard
- Security guard named as Auckland park homicide victim
- Police looking to make further arrests over death of security guard Ramandeep Singh
Detective Inspector Callum McNeill, of the Waitematā CIB, confirmed police were aware the family of the witness had been provided disclosure material relating to a homicide inquiry.
“Police have viewed some of this disclosure material and can confirm this was supplied to the defence counsel of one of the accused who will stand trial for this homicide,” he said in a statement.
“Disclosure provided to the accused is an integral part of any investigation and prosecution and ensures a fair and transparent process. It is a vital safeguard against miscarriages of justice.”
Recent changes to disclosure rules mean evidence is provided to lawyers by police earlier in the process leading up to trial than had happened previously.
McNeill said police were not aware of the material having been shared publicly, such as on social media.
“Police have advised counsel representing the accused in this matter that the disclosure material has been shared, and they have taken appropriate action.”
Security guard Ramandeep Singh, 25, was killed in Massey's Royal Reserve car park just after midnight on December 18. Photo / Jason Oxenham
The two accused have name suppression.
Singh moved to New Zealand in 2018 to pursue higher education on a student visa after completing his schooling in India.
An only child, he was born and raised in the village of Kotli Shahpur in Gurdaspur, Punjab.
In a post on social media, Armourguard said its community “has been shattered” by the sudden loss of Singh, who leaves behind a broken family and friends in mourning.
“For his parents, he wasn’t just a son; he was their only son, the pride of their lives.
“His death serves as a reminder of the risks our security personnel face every day when they go to work.”
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you