Detectives Stanley Matthew Willcox and Malcolm John Thomas conspired with Robin Pearce, Keith Mitchelmore, his book keeper and his Solicitor Alex Lee of Duncan Cotterill & Co to steal goods that where not rightfully theirs.
All involved had been warned that Hi-Lite industries, Pearce’s Company was not owed any money and in fact had been over paid by $24,000 – $26,000.00. Thomas and Willcox did not care about that. Even after the high court had ruled that pearce did not have a case his Solicitor, Alex Lee, was still attempting to have the goods repossessed with the assistance of Willcox and Thomas. They panicked however once it became clear that they had been discovered; the last offer to repossess had been made by one of the victims posing as a repossession agent.
Thomas then immediately applied for new bail conditions; forcibly stopping his victims contacting the creditors, Thomas advised the Court that he held fears for the physical safety of the creditors involved – Thomas had again lied.
He had advised the Court that threats had been made, this was a total fabrication. The only motivation Thomas had was to stop the men collecting evidence against Willcox, the conspiring creditors and himself. But by the time Thomas had acted it was to late, the evidence had already been obtained.
Malcolm Thomas had been phoning around trying to find co-operative creditors that had a retention clause so that he and his mate Dimery could then repossess goods; following which Thomas would then lay serious indictable criminal charges against his victims. Thomas, however, had little success until he hit pay dirt in Robin Pearce – Pearces Company was in serious financial difficulty and he needed cash to bail it out and he would obviously do anything to avoid his own business collapse and having to repay $26,000.
Enter the invisible Matt Willcox, the mastermind and Thomas’s muse; Pearce and his Solicitor seized the opportunity to conspire with the two cops in seizing the property and attempting to cash in.
Willcox however had lied to his superior officers on a number of occasions during late 1988, he had feigned ignorance of the events that he had played a major part in and stated in the police reports that he had been contacted by Detective Malcolm Thomas who had requested he obtain a statement from Pearce and Lee.
Thomas however, despite knowing that there was a genuine legal dispute, happily continued to assist by issuing search warrants and grabbing goods that Pearce had absolutely no right to. Thomas and Willcox then conspired with Lee even after Lee’s sumary judgement had been overturned. Thomas however changed tack when Pearce finally lost, then with out much effort induced the Liquidator of RSL, John Tuck, to make complaints with him so that he could continue to lay the criminal information’s – then claiming that RSL had owned the goods.
The fact that RSL had failed to pay the final $300,000 as contractually obliged to also meant that Thomas’s targets had always had a substantial claim against RSL for equitable offset. Thomas didn’t care he wanted to lay the charges – whatever it took.
Thomas was in civil territory now and inexperienced but he kept going – despite warnings Commanding officers including the Police Commissioner John Jamieson, did absolutely nothing to stop Thomas’s obvious malfeasance.
Thomas’s actions had completely destroyed any ability the business’s had to trade and so immediately destroyed the cash flow and worth. His false charges also seriously interfered with any ability to seek civil redress – all available financial resources had been directed to fighting the criminal charges Thomas was laying.
As a result Willcox, Thomas and the New Zealand Police force at best caused the loss of 1.8 million Dollars in off set. Taking into account however Willcox’s efforts of the previous eighteen months the loss attributable to these men was probably more like 6.5 million Dollars.
The RSL matter was finally heard in 1999 – at the time the Police were still interfering in Civil law and collecting information on the hearing – without any obvious entitlement.
By this time however the RSL had no funds left to pay the damages litigation would bring – damages would have been awarded.
On day three of the High Court hearing the Judge warned council acting for RSL that they should consider trying to settle the matter during lunch for if they didn’t they were about to get a hiding.
The Barristers for RSL where running around like headless chook’s, they knew what the Judges ominous warning had meant. If they could not settle the decision would likely go against them. The problem then of course would have been theirs, RSL had no money but the Solicitors and the liquidator may well have been guilty of gross negligence. The victims of this conspiracy were however fatigued, ten years of war and the fact that RSL had no funds left to pay damages meant that settling was the only option short of chasing the liquidator – another ten year battle.
Detectives Matthew Stanley Willcox and Malcolm John Thomas had acted in a criminal conspiracy that destroyed assets and a substantial business and then interfered with the owners ability to obtain just compensation for their loss.
The New Zealand Police had in effect directly caused the loss of 6.5 million Dollars. The loss however was more than monetary, these bent cops had destroyed the lives and health of their victims – apparently all with the blessing of their superiors.