Fighting Police Culture

reed's picture
Submitted by reed on Tue, 2011-11-15 02:43

The following letter* is published in Monday's North and South magazine. I've been helping Robert and Johan over the past 5 years or so.

I READ POLICE Commissioner Peter Marshall's letter in the November issue, written in response to the article by Ross Meurant (When the Good Guys Are the Bad Guys). Marshall states he is "... in a position to appreciate the significant difference between Meurant's 1960s and 1970s style of policing when compared to the 21st century". I'm also in a position to comment on current police culture because I have been wrestling with it for the past five years. In my opinion, Meurant's description accurately describes the culture I have encountered.

I have been representing Johan Aarts in a matter involving Rotorua police. Five years ago, a police officer wrote to Aarts' employer with false and misleading information about some videotaped evidential interviews. It appears the purpose of the letter was to incite Aarts' employer to end his employment and career, which was achieved. Since that time, the police have refused to allow Aarts to view these videotaped interviews. I believe Aarts is entitled to view the tapes to defend his reputation. However, the police hierarchy have refused to disclose them.

The police officer who wrote the letter did so under the close supervision and at the instruction of his superior. Although Police National Headquarters (PNHQ) initially decided Aarts was allowed to view the videotaped interviews, two senior police officers in the Bay of Plenty district overruled that decision. Instead, Aarts received a letter from another police officer, stating he'd viewed the tapes and providing assurance that the written accounts of the videotaped interviews were accurate.

When this matter was raised earlier this year with PNHQ via the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), former Police Commissioner Howard Broad did not order an internal investigation, nor did he refer this matter to the Independent Police Conduct Authority. Instead, the police have advanced a series of technical arguments to try and persuade the ERA not to call the videotaped evidential interviews as evidence. It appears that the former commissioner, like those other officers, acted to protect the officer who wrote initially to Aarts' employer.

The Police and Ministry of Social Development (MSD), which share the same legal counsel, are currently arguing in the ERA that they are entitled to write to an employer and make damaging and defamatory statements without having to present the evidence upon which they claim to rely. For the past 13 months, the ERA has refused to order the disclosure of the tapes. This has serious implications for every New Zealander.

I became so concerned about the lack of transparency by the police, ERA and the other Crown agencies that earlier this year I met with the person who was central to the videotaped evidential interviews and she confirmed our suspicions that the police officer's accounts were false and misleading.

I am not alone in disagreeing with Marshall's assessment of current police culture. The State Services Commission report into police culture from earlier this year states: "Senior management lacks the confidence and adeptness to make bold, circuit-breaking, and symbolic moves that will change the DNA of the organisation, signal to staff at all levels that poor performance and behaviour will not be tolerated, and that a new type of leader in police will be fostered and advanced."

If, as Marshall writes, "the world has changed and the police have also markedly changed" (since Meurant left the New Zealand Police over two decades ago), he should order that the videotaped evidential interviews be disclosed to Aarts, which he is surely entitled to as a matter of natural justice. This would be a "bold circuit-breaking and symbolic move" that could change the DNA of not only the police but the other government departments involved as well.

I think it is fair to say Meurant would describe Aarts' case as "a big ticket item" as it directly involves a number of senior police officers as well as other Crown agencies.

Marshall said in his letter, "Today's police executive is wide awake." I invite him to reconsider the stance taken by previous police senior management in this case, to "signal to staff at all levels that poor performance and behaviour will not be tolerated" by disclosing the videotaped evidential interviews to Johan Aarts.

Robert Lee, Rotorua

*The letter published is slightly different from this draft.


( categories: )

Robbo

Rosie's picture

Thanks for your reply, Robbo.

Yes, the so-called "arrest" that later took place after the Miami Vice-like car episode was apparently because she drove off. She did this because she was frightened by the police officer, though, and fear of what might happen to her if she got in the police car; it was not an attempt to provoke the police officer.

Strictly speaking, without any grounds for arresting her (disbelief of her story about her broken car engine to explain her slow and "extra-left" driving being insufficient) and because the police officer did not provide any reasons to sit in the police officer's car or to detain her further, there were no legal grounds why she would have had to do this that I can see and why she shouldn't have been allowed to continue on her way. Admittedly, hers wasn't exactly an orthodox exit but poking his great hand in to her car to take the car keys was equally unorthodox - sheer insolence and bully boy tactics in my book.

Thanks for the Youtube video. Very good. Smiling

More suffering

robbo's picture

Hi Rosie

Sorry for the delay, I've been a bit busy lately. See the media release I just posted.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friends "adventure" or is that "misadventure". It appears when the cops spend day after day chasing us "baddies" they lose the ability to recognise a normal decent human being and somewhere along the line forget how to behave like a normal decent human being themselves.

They hide in the shadows of "plausible deniability" and unfortunately, reading your story, the suspicion that your friend was a drug dealer creates that element of plausibility. However, I take the view that if Police "lose" evidence then an adverse inference must automatically be drawn. Therefore, unlike the IPCA, I believe your friends account over that of the Police. Nevertheless she was asking for trouble after driving off albeit slowly.That aspect of her story detracts from her moral high ground unfortunately. This may sound strange coming from me but my advice would be for her to put it down to experience and make sure she retains all the moral high ground next time.

The last time I had a run in with the Police I just exercised my right to remain silent. Worked a treat. Annoys the hell out of them. Its quite fun too. I recommend this as a beginners guide to dealing with our feral force.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Reed

Rosie's picture

As you now know, there is no oath/affirmation taken to become a lawyer but there are plenty of rules of conduct and legal duties - both under statute and the common law - once you start acting for clients. (In addition to the Solicitor's Rules (Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008), there are the fiduciary duties, common law duties of care and particular statutes set particular standards of care also - e.g. if, as is common, a solicitor is a trustee or director of a company etc.).

I wonder why juries and judges are bound by oath and lawyers are bound by legislation?

Not sure. Maybe it is because ordinary solicitors are answerable to their clients and to their governing body, The NZ Law Society, and thus are subject to the law whereas juries and judges are not answerable to anyone for their decisions - only, perhaps, the Crown or God to whom they make their oaths? (Although a decision by judge or jury may be appealed to a higher court that is a different thing from challenging a decision so that the judge or jury are subject to legal penalties if they get it wrong; and a judge can be "dewigged" so to speak but only by the other executive powers under the Constitution.)

Can you get a copy of the Local Government Act 1974 for me please.

All legislation is online, Reed. Here is the Act you asked for, to save you having to look it up though. Smiling If you are after a hard copy, you can order one from what used to be called The Government Bookshop. (I hope the online one is ok for your purposes though coz they can be quite expensive. Often the public library holds a copy of all the NZ legislation.)

Rosie Sorry about the delay.

reed's picture

Rosie

Sorry about the delay. Rob's not able to comment at the moment.

Thanks for your answers - that explains why I can find an oath specifically for ordinary lawyers.
I see the obligations of lawyers in the legislation now. I wonder why juries and judges are bound by oath and lawyers are bound by legislation?

Can you get a copy of the Local Government Act 1974 for me please.

Reed

Rosie's picture

Johan's case is still progressing. Slowly. I'm less involved now.

Oh. Never mind. Thanks for your reply, anyway. I had hoped that maybe robbo the lawyer might still be glancing at SOLO from time to time and so might have been able to assist me somehow from his experience with this case depending on where it went and how it had concluded. But still going on seven years after the event?

Discussing his case may be an offense. Who knows.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights usually applies:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. "

unless, of course, there is a Suppression Order or a Non-Disclosure Agreement was signed between the parties during the Employment Authority dispute.

( Mr Aarts may not discuss his client's case without his client's consent to do so because of solicitor-client privilege but you may unless, as his "agent", Mr Aarts also withdraws his consent for you to do so. This is why I presume the Crown Law Office asked Mr Lee/Aarts to tell you to remove your blog post. Presumably, if the goal is to minimise publicity, and you could properly be described as his agent and he asks you to remove your blogpost then this might be an argument in support. Just saying from what little I can glean from the account I have read.)

My latest comment can be found here.
Same points above apply to your blog commentary, Reed.

I have a question for you - you are a lawyer right? - did you take an oath/affirmation when you became a lawyer and what was it?

To become a lawyer you have to: (1)obtain the LL.B degree; (2) pass all the extra papers and exams you have to sit to get admitted and obtain a certificate confirming this from the NZCLE; (3) Complete an Application for Admission to the High Court; (5) have a person of a particular required "standing in the community" to complete a certificate of character and this form; (6)Complete an Application for a Practising Certificate;

The criteria for obtaining a Practising Certificate includes (a) being within the definition of a "fit and proper person" and you had to have about three members of the Law Society vouch that you are a fit and proper person.

So, you don't sign anything like the Hippocratic Oath as such. You really have to get someone of "standing" for your admission, and three other NZLS lawyers/judges for your Practising Certificate, to vouch for your character in order to become a lawyer.

If you only asked me this question because of your message on your blog to the Crown Law Office, it is probably more helpful for you to know that practising certificates are not renewed to lawyers in certain cases and there is a Complaints Procedure to the NZLS if you think any lawyer there is acting improperly that doesn't cost you a penny. Smiling

If you want any help or advice, please don't hesitate to ask me, Reed.

the saga continues...

reed's picture

Johan's case is still progressing. Slowly. I'm less involved now.

Discussing his case may be an offense. Who knows.

My latest comment can be found here.

And, a story that appeared briefly (half a day) on the Sunday Star Times website is reproduced here.

I have a question for you - you are a lawyer right? - did you take an oath/affirmation when you became a lawyer and what was it?

More suffering from police culture

Rosie's picture

I also have a friend for whom I am acting in a case involving corrupt police practice - which you describe, far too subtly, as police culture.

My friend is a completely innocent person who suddenly found herself stopped by a police officer, intimidated, bullied, then arrested, had her car taken from her (refusing to return her keys to her for two days while they searched it), was taken to the police station, strip searched as well as suffering other inappropriate and grotesque forms of police brutality, left in a cell wearing only her underwear, was humiliated and jeered at while she curled in to the corner sobbing her heart out, and was then only finally released when they realised that they were completely out of line and wrong. The following day, they told her they had decided that they wouldn't press charges - said in such a tone as though intimating they were doing her a favour, she said.

For the context, the engine of her car was stopping and starting and she only able to travel very slowly along the motorway. She therefore drove more slightly to the left so as to avoid holding up any traffic. It was about 11pm at night. For that heinous offence she was pulled over by a cop, asked what she was doing (very rudely), told that her story wasn't believed, implied she was actually a drug dealer (and about to drop a load or something?! - the next day police were seen swarming the area beside where she had been pulled up at and all the shrubs were being chopped back) and was told to get out of her car and sit in the back of the police car. My friend had no intention of doing that because she thought the police officer was frightening and so she said she wouldn't leave her car. When the cop's hand came through the window to turn off her car, and maybe remove the keys from the ignition, my friend quickly pushed down the accelerator and drove off at the breakneck speed of 15-20 km/hr! She was arrested (but without due process) after a "high speed" chase involving three other police cars who, Miami Vice-style, did a couple of 360 turns ending up blocking her path and forcing her from 20km/hr to 0!!! They pulled open the door, pulled her out ripping her clothing, did that hand motion search thing to check she wasn't carrying a weapon then pushed her in to another police car that had turned up blazing sirens. If it weren't such a serious violation of human rights, it could have been a farce. My friend is Mrs Normal Norma. Never even had a parking ticket!

She was so devastated by the whole event that she couldn't concentrate for ages afterwards, became scared to drive her car again and paranoid she was being followed. As a result, she gave up working for her own business for a month or so (with all that loss of income), packed her bags and left the area for a holiday to get over the trauma.

Our complaint to the Police Complaints Authority experienced a similar cover-up and dismissal of the Complaint. They denied my friend's account of the event, preferring, and accepting instead, the account of the police officer of whom the complaint was made. They refused to provide the video recording of the treatment my friend received at the police station saying that the video surveillance recording had been wiped. My friend is reluctant to take this further because of the costs and stress of it all but I am urging her to do so because of the breach of human rights involved and the need for illegitimate police practices to be addressed.

I remembered this thread and the link to the website that dealt with a similar kind of thing. The website is not very forthcoming about the end result however and I wondered whether you had had any success with Mr Aarts' case?

I am currently thinking that it might be better to avoid all the government authorities and complaints bodies that are run by morally corrupt and weak civil servants who see fit to just cover up for one another and to instead make a case straight to the United Nations relying on there having been a breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (As indeed is also the case with your Mr Aarts.)

The alternative is a suit for negligence in the High Court since there has been a breach of the duty of care. In the original case, Donaghue v Stephenson it was held that this particular tort (where a person's behaviour has unfairly caused someone else to suffer harm or loss) was founded on and flowed from the Biblical command "Thou shalt love thy neighbour" - I like that! It bodes well for me! Smiling (This suit would also have found favour with your case re Mr Aarts it seems to me.)

Suspect number 5

robbo's picture

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner perverted the course of justice by writing a document on Police letterhead that gave a false assurance that McLeod's written accounts of the videotaped interviews were accurate. We now know they were not accurate.

http://www.johan.co.nz/wordpre...

So what you see unfolding here is the pattern that junior officers are prepared to act illegally because they know they are protected by senior officers. This is just as former senior Police Officer and more recently Member of Parliament Ross Meurant described in his 2007 article published in The Sunday Star Times called "Deep in the forest" (http://www.converge.org.nz/pma...).

Suspect number 4

robbo's picture

Still no response from Police Commissioner Peter Marshall...

Introducing, suspect number 4 in this scandal, who appears to have obstructed the course of justice, former Detective Inspector Rob Jones.

http://www.johan.co.nz/wordpre...

Suspect number 3

robbo's picture

http://www.johan.co.nz/wordpre...

The illegal withholding of Official / Private Information for the improper purpose of accomplishing a cover-up may amount to Obstructing the Course of Justice.

Suspect number 2

robbo's picture

Meet the second cop involved in this drama.
http://www.johan.co.nz/wordpre...

We are alleging that these Police Officers conspired to cause the loss of Johan's employment, career and livelihood by deceit and obstructed the course of justice by illegally refusing to disclose the videotaped evidential intervews.

Good to see lots of people reading this page and visiting the website. If you haven't already, please show your support by liking the facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

Thanks
Rob

Meet the cast

robbo's picture

We have completed a page on the website detailing one of the Police Officer's involvement in the case.

http://www.johan.co.nz/wordpre...

Statement of Problem

robbo's picture

The Statement of Problem filed in The Employment Relations Authority has been uploaded to Johan's website.

http://www.johan.co.nz/wordpre...

"The full story in all its glory". Smiling

Context

robbo's picture

Mark, for your enjoyment here is some context.

As his website suggests, Johan is a degree qualified counsellor having graduated in 2003. In 2004 he started working in his first job in this new career with a nationwide organisation (deliberately unnamed at this point) who we shall call his employer.

Around that time some guy was domestically violent towards his female partner and this was witnessed by three of her children aged between 7 and 11. The mother got the authorities involved. The Family Court, amongst others, ordered that the three children attend a 10 week Domestic Violence Programme to help them cope with their trauma. Johan’s employer offered such a programme and the employer asked Johan to run it.

All went reasonably well except the mother failed to attend the 1st, 5th and 10th sessions as required by the programme. On a few occasions the children were not at the agreed meeting place and he had to chase around town looking for them. The children missed one or two sessions.

At the conclusion of the programme Johan was asked to write a report. This was unusual. The employer and Child Youth and Family Services have refused to provide this report but from memory Johan thinks he pretty much told it like it was. Johan was unaware that CYF had a custody application for the children and he unaware that this report would be used in Custody Proceedings. CYF used it to advance their claim for the children – much to the distress of the mother and her children. As we understand it, the mother then put her children into the care of someone she knew rather than relinquish custody of her children to CYF.

So the context is that Johan was unaware that he was in the middle of a custody battle for the three children.

There are conflicting accounts of what happened next. According to the children's mother,the middle child told a Court Appointed Psychologist that she didn’t like Johan and that she thought she saw him accidently or inadvertently touch or brush the youngest girl on the thigh or leg. However, the youngest girl did like Johan – quite a lot actually – and was adamant that nothing bad had happened.

When CYF and the Police got around to evidentially interviewing the three girls about six months later, the mother thought that it would be the end of the matter because, in her words, “nothing happened – it’s all about nothing”.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Police and CYF wouldn’t recognize an innocent person if they shook hands with him. On 6 June 2006, no less than seven CYF staff met to discuss “nothing” and deemed that they should end Johan’s career. None of them had ever met Johan or discussed their concerns with him. Johan was completely unaware that anybody had any concerns about him at all. These “wise” CYF staff did not even give Johan his right of reply.

On 7 June 2006 Tokoroa CYF Practice Leader (that’s the boss for those unfamiliar with CYF lingo) Susan Rudolf sent the following message to CYF Social Worker Francis Beban (also from Tokoroa):

Francis and Helen,
Could you follow up with Police when they will interview the counsellor and advise [employer]. Also is the counselor registered with any body which we could eventually inform, after the Police have spoken to the counsellor.
It may be that he has not committed any crimes yet, but his behaviour has the hallmarks of grooming and without a conviction and without advising any professional body, he could easily get a job elsewhere as a counsellor.
Please be sure to follow this up.

Thanks Susan.

The whole truth? You can't

robbo's picture

The whole truth? You can't handle the whole truth! Eye

I think it best if we unfold the story as a natural progression as and when people ask questions - as Janet did. One of our biggest difficulties has been getting lost in the telling of the story because it is such a big story that involves so many people and so many organisations when told in full.

However, in my view this is the story of what is probably be the biggest inter-agency Crown cover-up in New Zealand history.

I've liked the Facebook

Mark Hubbard's picture

I've liked the Facebook page.

With Reed, though, and my banging on about context, I think that site needs more information. That is, context Sticking out tongue If you really want to get support on board.

There's not much information

reed's picture

There's not much information on the site.

Are you going to put the whole story up?

Website blocked?

robbo's picture

We have got a website up and running for more information - www.johan.co.nz.

However I have had feedback that if your Internet Service Provider is xtra, you are not able to view the site.

Feedback on this would be appreciated.

The rule of law will prevail

robbo's picture

And the rule of law must take precedence to (my) knee-jerk response, as you have rightly corrected me.

Thank you Mark for your kind words and for being big enough to be corrected. I think it was good that the "knee-jerk" view was advanced. I think in this post-Peter Ellis era that we live in many New Zealanders tend towards this response. That kind of thinking is of course unhygienic and flawed.

May I invite you to "like" our Facebook page to demonstrate your support for Johan's plight.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

What is it the next step for you?

I believe this case requires "the sterilising effect of public exposure" as Sir Geoffrey Palmer would say. So long as only three people know about this case the Police and the rest of the Crown will continue to obfuscate. We are very keen to get this story into the public domain so that it can no longer be swept under the carpet. We would appreciate any help in drawing this matter to the attention of the media.

So far as the case currently before the Employment Relations Authority, the Police are arguing that a person can only "aid and abet" (as per s134(2) quoted below) a breach of an employment agreement PRIOR to the agreement being breached. This would mean the likes of the Privacy Commission, who we asked for help AFTER the event, could not have aided and abetted the breach.

This argument is of course flawed.

More modern language uses the terms "accomplice" and "accessory". An accoplice to a bank robbery would include the driver of a get-away vehicle. An "accessory after the fact" could include somebody who knowingly hides the bank robber several weeks later.

So the argument goes that the phrase "Every person who incites, instigates, aids, or abets any breach of an employment agreement is liable to a penalty imposed by the Authority" applies only to accomplices not accessories.

It may come as a surprise to some that the ERA Member Eleanor Robinson has agreed with this submission and has called for affidavits from the Privacy Commission (and others) confirming when they first knew about the "Johan Aarts matter". It is clear that if that occurred AFTER the termination of Johan's employment (which of course it did) then she intends to have those Respondents struck out without the merits of the case being tested. In other words, on the basis of a flawed "technicality".

This despite Section 157(1) which states:

The Authority is an investigative body that has the role of resolving employment relationship problems by establishing the facts and making a determination according to the substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities.

The only conclusion I am able to draw is that the ERA, like the Privacy Commission and others, intends to act illegally and unfairly for the improper purpose of assisting the Police with a cover-up.

From five years of chasing around various Crown Agencies looking for help, I have drawn the conclusion that it is a myth that Crown Entities are independent from each other. I think it is more accurate to describe it this way.

If a person has a grievance with a Crown Agency, the only remedy available is to seek help from another Crown Agency. Thus the Crown gets to be a judge in its own cause and as a Police friend of mine recently reminded me, the Crown always wins.

Robbo

Mark Hubbard's picture

It's not interesting I chose the case of a paedophile: extreme cases are simply good for clarifying issues, that's why I've always ignored Godwin's law.

I don't think I have any specific disagreement to your last post: indeed, your argument shows the case I was making in the main, if not wholly, wrong. I should've known better, and thought deeper. Your last paragraph (context) shows the police to be lacking, certainly, and Aarts also is a salient reminder that justice needs to be timely.

In a clumsy way, I was trying to get myself to your position here: If the Police have some evidence that a person was an active paedophile then they should arrest that person and lay charges. He should then be presented with that evidence so that he can prepare a defence. That evidence should then be tested in a court of law before his peers and it is up to his peers to "deem" him either guilty or not guilty.

Yes. Absolutely no dispute with that. And the rule of law must take precedence to (my) knee-jerk response, as you have rightly corrected me. I've been as dumb as a brute Statist in my thinking, trampling all over the means in order to get to my desired ends.

Mr Aarts is lucky to have you in his corner: I hope he does get restitution, but first his day in court. Please keep this thread updated with your/his progress. What is it the next step for you?

I also hope you stick around SOLO: I'd love to see your input to some of the other issues discussed here.

(Oh, I see you have been here for three years, but this appears to be your first thread. From a slow start to great thoughts Smiling )

Police do not have to power to "deem" anything.

robbo's picture

If you had a child at a pre-school, do you think it would be appropriate if the police rang the employers of that pre-school if they had unknowingly hired what police deemed to be an active paedophile, and the police were the only body with that knowledge?

Mark, I do have a five year old child. The Police do not have the power to "deem" anything.

I think it is interesting that you have brought up the topic of paedophile. Do you think there is something magical about this topic that would somehow alter hundreds of years of common law and the proper legal processes we have in place in our society?

If the Police have some evidence that a person was an active paedophile then they should arrest that person and lay charges. He should then be presented with that evidence so that he can prepare a defence. That evidence should then be tested in a court of law before his peers and it is up to his peers to "deem" him either guilty or not guilty.

If a person is a convicted paedophile then legally speaking it becomes a "fact" that he is a paedophile. I think in that circumstance it may be appropriate for the Police to advise an employer of that "fact".

If the Police only have a suspicion that someone is a pedophile, but no evidence, then that person should not be "burned at the stake" without proper and due process of law. Such was the plight of "witches" in the middle ages. Don't you think our "civilisation" has advanced beyond that?

In Johan's case, the Police have advised him they will not be laying any charges. Johan asked former Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Gary Smith to lay charges - so that he would have the opportunity to see the evidence and defend his reputation.  Smith declined saying "we have nothing to charge you with". It appears that Smith knew that Detective McLeod's had no evidence and that his accounts of the interviews were false. I think this is why Smith overruled a PNHQ directive to show Johan the tapes.

Robbo

Mark Hubbard's picture

In my view your interest in the "circumstances" is irrelevant and a distraction.

Sorry, Robbo, but I don't think context can be ignored. Trying to take nothing away from the header post, and the plight of your friend, and not changing my first answer to Reed just below this post, a question to you. If you had a child at a pre-school, do you think it would be appropriate if the police rang the employers of that pre-school if they had unknowingly hired what police deemed to be an active pedophile, and the police were the only body with that knowledge?

Police are a legitimate role of government. Though yes, in the example I've just given, that man should be informed of what the police have done against him. He needs to know, as Aarts does, what the accusation is, so that if police are wrong, he can then sue them.

Um, I also believe someone is innocent until proven guilty: a seeming conundrum, certainly, but doesn't change my answer, I don't think. In the case of Aarts, the police need to be called to account on transparency, plus, if they have some sort of case, then they should prosecute, now, or withdraw their statement to employer, and be liable to restitution to Aarts for the harm they have done him.

And again, I have no idea what the police have against Aarts. For example, if an issue of drugs, then I believe it would be inappropriate they go to his employer, however, that is a problem of law: that is, police should not be policing that jurisdiction. Which gets me back to my initial post, vis a vis, the role of police in our social(alist) democracy is too wide if we were a classical liberal libertarian minarchy. Further, concerning the transparency aspect, it appears the police have been woeful in Aarts case, and certainly if some sort of cover up is involved, then yes, they should be seen to be operating outside of the law, their mandate, and held to task over it by an independent body. But, without context the case of Aarts is only ever going to be something I can comment on, as I have done, with a series of qualifications as per my very first point, and per my question to you above.

Has corrupt Police culture crept beyond the Police?

robbo's picture

Janet was of course right to ask about of Freedom of Information Act. It should be a no-brainer that Aarts is able to get access to these tapes. However, the Ombudsman deferred the request to the Privacy Commission as they view it as a request for "private information" held by the Police. What is astonishing is that the Privacy Commission ruled that Aarts was not entitled to it. A former Privacy Commissioner has stated that evidence collected by the Police is "a collection of private information." and therefore subject to requests under the Privacy Act.

It has since come to our attention that Assistant Commissioner of The Privacy Commission Mike Flahive, who made the decision, is a former senior Police Officer. That he gave a false assurance that the Police had provided an accurate account of the interviews appears to indicate that the corrupt cover-up culture of the Police described by Ross Meurant has crept beyond the bounds of the Police and into other Crown agencies.

The Police can now say the Privacy Commission have ruled that Aarts is not entitled to view the tapes, which gives them a degree of plausible deniability. It also begins to highlight the extent of the problem that Police Commissioner Peter Marshall has in releasing these tapes. They will show that not only did Police Officer's make false statements and act to obstruct their release, so did non-Police staff in other agencies such as Flahive in The Privacy Commission.

When North and South magazine were contemplating the publication of my letter they brought it to my attention that they could not find Aarts decision on the Privacy Commission website. They informed me that the Privacy Commission normally publish all their decisions on their website as a matter of course. They asked me why that would be.

I was not aware the Privacy Commission normally publish their decisions and I had never done a search for Aarts' decision. In my view, Flahive’s decision was not made in good faith, could not stand any scrutiny and that would be the obvious reason they would not want to publish it on their website. I am of the opinion that Flahive's decision was made for the improper purpose of assisting the Police with a cover-up. This is the basis for which we have joined The Privacy Commission as Respondents in the Employment Relations Authority case brought by Aarts under section 134(2) of The Employment Relations Act 2000;

    Every person who incites, instigates, aids, or abets any breach of an employment agreement is liable to a penalty imposed by the Authority.

In my view your interest in the "circumstances" is irrelevant and a distraction. Having said that, Aarts is a transparent person and has nothing to hide. If the circumstances were shown to be relevant he would happy to disclose these. Legally speaking, the default position is that the presumption of innocence applies. That should be all of our starting point and remain so until somebody presents evidence that suggests otherwise. The Police refuse to present the evidence upon which they claim to rely so we should all disregard the unsubstantiated innuendo advanced by the Police. The employer should have as well.

On the face of this, Reed,

Mark Hubbard's picture

On the face of this, Reed, yes, it would appear to be an abuse of power. However, we are at some disadvantage in that you've provided no context here: that is, what is the background of Aarts that he was apparently under police investigation? It's hard to comment meaningfully without that context.

1) Should the Police be able to inform a person's employer about an investigation?
2) Should the Police then be able to prevent the person from seeing the basis for contacting their employer?

Regarding (1), I would generally say no, unless there were reasonable grounds to conclude that harm (physical or fraud) would be perpetrated by the man in question to his employer or customers/clients. For example, I would want to know if I had employed a person who was currently being investigated for fraud. Similarly, and I don't need to cite circumstances, there are very good grounds for some types of offenders not to be allowed to work with children. This issue becomes clearer so long as police are working to their only correct function, the policing of non-initiation of force or fraud - their mandate is now so much wider than that now, inappropriately, that I do worry about the powers they have (as I do with the huge powers IRD have, although the latter is far clearer, as IRD is only about one thing, theft. They are the enemy of my freedom, the police are not. Police are the legitimate use of power of state, the IRD are a complete abuse of that power).

Regarding (2), the answer is much easier: of course that person should be allowed to see the basis for police contacting their employer. I can see no reason for why the police should not do so, and believe justice is served by transparency in that case, as only on seeing the basis can the person involved defend himself (to police and his employer).

But, again, context. What is it?

The Privacy Commission vouched for the Police

reed's picture

The Privacy Commission gave an assurance that the Police accounts were accurate.

However, the person central to the interviews has since confirmed that the Police accounts were false and misleading.

Janet

reed's picture

Keep fighting.

Haha, Rob makes the honey badger look like a quitter.

Mark

reed's picture

Shame to say I've not read your header post properly: I'll do so over the weekend.

Two quick points to ponder while you're finding the time to read the header post...
1) Should the Police be able to inform a person's employer about an investigation?
2) Should the Police then be able to prevent the person from seeing the basis for contacting their employer?

Is this the issue you set up 'Ministry of Justice' blog over?
Yes and no.

Reed

Mark Hubbard's picture

Shame to say I've not read your header post properly: I'll do so over the weekend.

Is this the issue you set up 'Ministry of Justice' blog over?

Seymour

Mark Hubbard's picture

At his moment they are afriad of me as a loose cannon because I fought them in the courts myself when the mayor ke0pt ticketing me over my garden. Too much clover and clover draws bees and bees might sting a child altho they don't say that. It's just over 12 inches high and that is against the ordinance. I fought them for 5 years using guerrilla techniques taught in seminars by Gene Zimmerman who had learned them first hand. The bwork.

Now they want my building but they are hesitant to take me on because they don't know what I will do. They do not expect me to behave the way all the sheeple in the town behave. ...They are still terrified I will sue the city for a huge amount of money as the mayor lost his temper, grabbed the weed eater from his workers who were afraid, and cut down my garden himself while I photographed his doing it.

Oh, now I'm starting to like you. Brilliant Smiling

Bloody glad you don't live next to me though!

Official Information and Privacy Act requests refused.

robbo's picture

Hi Janet In New Zealand we have the Official Information Act and the Privacy Act. We applied to the Police to see the videotaped interviews under both Acts. The Police ultimately denied these requests. We then laid complaints with both The Privacy Commission and the Ombudsman who oversee the administration of these acts. Astonishingly they both sided with the Police and decided to deny Aarts access to the interviews.

So you have no Freedom of Information Act

seymourblogger's picture

This is what it is for.

I am shortly going to move and when I go I am going to destroy the town i live in now. I have their name on a blog at blogspot and I have learned how to do this. all innuendo and undermining of credibility. At his moment they are afriad of me as a loose cannon because I fought them in the courts myself when the mayor ke0pt ticketing me over my garden. Too much clover and clover draws bees and bees might sting a child altho they don't say that. It's just over 12 inches high and that is against the ordinance. I fought them for 5 years using guerrilla techniques taught in seminars by Gene Zimmerman who had learned them first hand. The bwork.

Now they want my building but they are hesitant to take me on because they don't know what I will do. They do not expect me to behave the way all the sheeple in the town behave.

Possible suggestions: class action suit as you know your client is not the only one in this sinking lifeboat. Kill a person's career and you tend to render them helpless. Prey to loss of livelihood.

I would sue the suckers for big bucks and let them defend themselves. go for a jury trial. There was a great judge in CA that wrkote books that are for stupids like me on choosing a jury and making and meeting objections. Zimmerman taught us to do our cases in such a way that we would lay the groundwork for an appeal in our state. Damn he was good and we miss him every day.

I know zero about NZ law and how far you can go with it. But you get this in front of the right jury and you will win. Big time. They are still terrified I will sue the city for a huge amount of money as the mayor lost his temper, grabbed the weed eater from his workers who were afraid, and cut down my garden himself while I photographed his doing it. Then I started spreading rumors of what I might be planning to do and how much money I was after. And that the pics were uploaded so going after my hard drive wouldn't amount to anything. They have never met anyone like me. And really I don't want to do this as I just want to write all the time and I resent anything that puts stuff in my head that I prefer not to have there. They don't know this tho.

Keep fighting. foucault did. Tunisia. Paris. Prison system. Academic system.

Independent Commission Against Corruption

robbo's picture

 

The most astonishing part of this story is that the Rotorua Police were audacious enough to write a false and misleading letter to the employer apparently confident that Aarts would never see the videotaped interviews. That alone speaks volumes about current Police culture. It also speaks volumes about the ineffectiveness of the Independent Police Conduct Authority to act as a deterrent to Police Officer’s contemplating acting dishonestly.

The next part of this story is that Child Youth and Family also provided false information to the employer. There is no equivalent conduct authority for CYF.

The Maori Party have announced a policy to disband the IPCA and establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption along the lines of the successful Hong Kong and New South Wales models that has jurisdiction over every government department?

Looks like I will be the only Pakeha voting for the Maori Party this election.

In New Zealand, the Police

reed's picture

In New Zealand, the Police can make false and misleading statements to your employer without having to present the evidence upon which they claim to rely.

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