During the 1980’s and early 1990’s the local Gisborne media had a reluctance to damage their relationships with the Local Police.
Radio New Zealand – Roger Hanford
Even the state owned Radio New Zealand’s local journalist Roger Hanford was a party to burying police corruption. On the surface an honest man but behind closed doors only too willing to assist in the process of a police cover up.
In early 1989 Hanford was telephoned and advised of the fact that Police were concealing a number of thieving officers. One amongst them had been caught red handed stealing petrol from the Police stations petrol pump. The switch for the pump was located in the stations watch house. This meant that at least two officers were required in the execution of the thefts.
Chief Inspector Whiro Ratahi and various other honest Police Officers confirmed that it had occurred and yet Hanford assisted in ensuring that the matter never faced public scrutiny. Hanford also assisted in ensuring that Police officers were never held to account for having released confidential and completely false information with the intention of damaging their targets.
Hanford was also given information relating to the then criminal libel offending of Paul Marten’s a local union organiser and failed to investigate it preferring instead to assist in the cover up that Detectives Malcolm Thomas and Dave Nielson wanted. Martens had been on the list provided to Lewis Proctor, named as an individual prepared to provide negative information. The Police could not afford to have Martens uncovered as they had provided the false information in the first place. That defamatory information included alleged rape convictions and involvement in drugs and organised crime. The cop that was charged with investigating the leaking of confidential information was Chester Haar. More recently Chester Haar’s colleague Detective Laurie Naden has demonstrated how he and his police colleagues use the media to great effect in defaming people that cross them; even in retirement.
Eastland Sun – Bruce Johnstone
Another local media personality Bruce Johnstone the owner of the Eastland Sun also assisted Police. Johnstone’s offending went further than Hanford’s. Bruce Johnstone and his wife Janet conspired with Detectives Malcolm Thomas and Dave Nielson to cover up unlawful activity on the part of the police and others such as Paul Martens.
At the behest of Thomas and others Johnstone published a number of factually incorrect articles designed to camouflage the fact that Thomas and Nielson had conspired with corrupt ex-cop Lewis Proctor of nationwide investigations to conceal the fact that the police had been giving out Wanganui Computer information and had obtained telephone records without a search warrant; later obtaining a warrant under false pretence. Bruce Johnstone’s actions also assisted Thomas in laying false charges against his targets. Those charges would later be dropped, having served their purpose; further destroying reputations. Thomas and Nielson knew at the time they laid the charges that they never stood a chance in court; but it was designed purely to make great print in Bruce Johnstone’s paper The Eastland Sun. The first of the articles were published on Saturday the 24th, the bogus search warrant having been obtained the day before.
It was quickly ascertained that it was impossible for Johnstone to have printed the article at such short notice. This in turn meant that he had to have been aware of the telephone records by midday on Thursday the 22nd at the latest. Johnstone denied this in his editorial the following week. It was eventually proven beyond doubt that Johnstone lied and was indeed a central part in the criminal conspiracy, Thomas had first contacted Bruce Johnstone on Monday the 19th and then unlawfully obtained the telephone records on Tuesday the 20th; giving Bruce Johnstone the three days needed to write and publish the story.