If it was not so serious and systemic one might be inclined to label the New Zealand police incompetent, or just bone idle perhaps. The problem is that the New Zealand police’s list of failures is so long that it can only be seen as a systemic problem, the problem being that the police seem to believe that their function has now been extended to that of a court of law.
Yet another case involving this sort of behaviour by police was reported on by Fairfax in this mornings Dominion Post;
Victim’s mum angered by leniency towards assailant
A Masterton man charged with assault – after the mother of the victim gathered evidence herself – has been discharged without conviction.
The verdict has again left the victim’s family feeling let down by the system.
Brodie Charles McDowall, 19, was originally charged with assaulting Roger Whioke with intent to injure him.
Yesterday in the Wellington District Court, police amended the charge to assault and McDowall pleaded guilty.
The police had to apologise in March for not following up on the assault in a Wellington apartment building in October last year.
It was left to Whioke’s mother, Andrea Jane, to find surveillance footage of the building’s stairwell. She laid a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
Only then did police charge McDowall, who was caught on camera throwing a punch.
Whioke, who suffered injuries including a bruised and swollen face and chipped and cracked teeth, was at home when he realised people were spitting on his windows from the floor above. When he went upstairs to ask them to clean it off, there was an altercation and he was assaulted.
Judge Tony Walsh said McDowall and his associates tried to taunt Whioke and his friends into a fight before following them.
McDowall threw the first punch and there was a scuffle.
Whioke was held in a headlock and McDowall tried to kick him, and had to be held back from lunging at Whioke again.
The judge said both groups had been drinking but he told McDowall his actions were foolish.
The judge agreed to a discharge without conviction despite a report that Whioke did not want McDowall to be discharged. The judge said he was satisfied a conviction could affect McDowall’s career as a personal trainer.
He also ordered McDowall to pay $800 in reparation to Whioke.
Jane said she was disappointed with the verdict.
“I am quite gutted that he got off with that,” she said. “He should have been held accountable for his actions.”
Her son had been affected both physically and emotionally, she said.
McDowall’s lawyer, Val Nisbet, said the publicity over the incident had been of great stress to his client, who had now apologised to the victim.
When will the New Zealand police learn that they can no longer sweep these cases under the carpet. Of course the cops have come out and belatedly apologised, a pretence driven by the fact that they had nowhere to go, they could not deny their behaviour as they normally would because the victims mother had done far to good a job of recording the police failures when she herself was forced to investigate the crime. The cops on this occasion had been caught red handed and had manoeuvred themselves into a check-mate position.
The victims mother had also filed complaints with New Zealands so-called Independant Police Conduct Authority (IPCA). That in itself is noteworthy, simply because the IPCA normally bends over backwards to conceal police offending. In fact its only ever when their opponents have the IPCA in a corner that they will conduct a proper investigation and present an honest report. The police apology is frankly transparently feigned:
Police have conceded that they took action only after the victim’s mother, Andrea Janes, obtained the video footage and made a complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
Wellington District communications manager Nick Bohm says Constable Richard Briscoe, one of two officers who attended the incident, has been held to account.
“What the office has acknowledged is that he should have followed up with the victim in this case the next day. That didn’t happen and during a conversation the office has had with the mother, he’s fell short of our usual standards and he’s personally apologised for that.”
Mr Bohm says Ms Janes contacted the building’s manager and secured the CCTV footage. He says when the officers investigating the incident viewed the film, they could see an assault had taken place and charges would have been appropriate.
Mr Bohm says the constable has written a letter to Ms Janes, saying he was “ashamed”.
“The letter says I apologise for not listening to you when you contacted me about your son. I admire and respect your assistance. I will apply the lessons I have learnt from this incident in the future.”………
………Mother questions if apology genuine
Andrea Janes says she spent three days collecting evidence to give to police because they refused to investigate the attack.
Ms Janes says when she rang police the day after the assault, she was told by a constable she was an over-anxious mother and that her son had initiated the confrontation.
She says she sent police an email pleading for an investigation, but that fell on deaf ears. She then obtained the video footage of the attack and gathered evidence via social media and networking before making a complaint to the IPCA.
Ms Janes questions how genuine the apology from Constable Briscoe is, saying she believes the letter has only been written because she asked for it.
She says she is pleased police have acknowledged their failures, but is not ruling out making a compensation claim.
Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/237776/police-admit-mistakes-over-assault (Radio New Zealand)
Strangely enough the constable who has copped the blame, Richard Briscoe, was heralded by police as one of their best recruits back in 2009 when he graduated from the New Zealand police academy at Trentham:
Wing 255 PRIZE WINNERS:
• The Minister’s Prize for First in Wing will be awarded to Constable Richard BRISCOE, posted to Wellington.
Constable Briscoe has also won the INTERNATIONAL POLICE ASSOCIATION Academic Prize (for overall academic achievement) ERICSSON Practical Prize for the overall winner of practical assessments, file preparation and fingerprinting.
We here at LF suspect that constable Briscoe is simply being used as the scapegoat by senior cops who probably have a string of similar failures to their names. Briscoe’s commanding officers would have undoubtedly been responsible for any decision Briscoe, as a junior officer, had relayed to the victims mother, not Briscoe himself. LF believes Briscoe has taken the blame knowing what really transpired behind the scenes. Of course the only way that fact has a chance of becoming public knowledge is if, as threatened, the victims mother takes legal action, a civil tort for damages, against the police. Even if it does not get to court, in fact if it does not get as far as a court hearing, then the public can be fairly certain that the police have continued to conceal the whole truth.
The police’s stance that they had sent Constable Briscoe off for additional training is clearly also a load of crap. Briscoe, as recently as last month, June 16th 2014 to be precise, was being used as a police “pin-up boy”. In the latest police propaganda stunt the Big O (aka Greg O’Connor) and his NZ Police Association apparently organised for two unwitting journos, photo-journalist Antony Kitchener and Swede Ossian Grahn, to follow constable Richard Briscoe and fellow cop Anthony Davidson around Wellington for twelve hours. Kitcheners photo essay can be viewed on his blog here, or in the the Swedish Police Union (Polisförbundet) magazine – well worth a read and the photo’s of Constable Richard Briscoe in particular are great:
“12 Hours with New Zealand Police (A behind the scenes – AMMUNITION: 1200 VOLT)
June 16 2014
At Christmas I was given an exciting reportage/photojournalism assignment in New Zealand by a Swedish trade magazine, Polisförbundet, the Swedish Police Union magazine. Working with Swedish journalist Ossian Grahn, I was commissioned to photograph a story on the use of non-lethal weapons (tasers) by New Zealand Police. Ossian was in Wellington for one week interviewing members of the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Police Association, as well as organising permission for us to go on a ride-a-long.
We arrived at Wellington police station at 4pm on Saturday afternoon. We met the two officers who we would be shadowing for the next 12 hours, and followed them into the station carpark to get into the police car. At that moment, a high-ranking cop materialised and brashly told us we were not allowed to take pictures while out on the ride-a-long. Arrangements for the ride-a-long had been negotiated between both the Swedish and New Zealand Police Associations and New Zealand Police in the months prior to our visit and getting pictures to illustrate the story was the main purpose of the assignment (for me anyway!).
So for the first three hours, I followed the police around on their duties while surreptitiously trying to snap images from the hip using the camera’s silent shutter function. All the while Ossian was frantically calling his contacts at the Police Association to find out what the misunderstanding was and to try to get permission to photograph as was previously arranged. Three hours later the confusion was over with, and I could take the memory card out of my sock and openly take pictures to my heart’s content. Luckily for us, the more interesting events occurred after the photo ban was lifted.
It was an eye-opening experience traveling around with the police and getting to experience how they operate and view the city. It gave me view of Wellington’s seedy underbelly that I hadn’t seen before!
Having the opportunity to create this reportage and meeting and working with Ossian was also a great experience. Hopefully we will be able to work together on another assignment if the opportunity presents itself.”
There was no misunderstanding, given the circumstances it’s little wonder the bent senior cops wanted to pull the plug on the “photographs”, shit had they known the cops would also be named all hell would have undoubtedly broken loose.
Perhaps Kiwi photo-journalist Antony Kitchener can persaude fellow journalist and Swedish national Ossian Grahn to do a follow up piece thats a little more honest, lets say an article on just how corrupt the New Zealand police are – then again perhaps they would not be up to that idea. Perhaps a piece on how the Swedish Police have been handling the Julian Assange affair….no, come to think of it thats probably not a good idea either.
Interestingly the Swedish police magazine and Mr Grahn have taken their websites off-line since the Dom-Post story was published. LF have taken screen grabs of Antony Kitchener’s post however (in reference/bibliography below), just in case that too gets pulled, following one of those dodgy Kiwi police requests.
This case, had it happened as little as seven years ago would have been successfully swept under the carpet by the police and the National Police Headquarters spin-doctors. Its only with the advent of social media and more importantly the publics growing awareness of how best to use it that the New Zealand police are bing confronted with a new challenge when they attempt to conceal their wrong doing. In the same way the mainstream media, who a few years ago would have willingly been complicite in hiding this type of complaint, are facing similar challenges.
Websites such as Lauda Finem and a meriad of others such as www.newzealandjustice.com and www.nzpca.co.nz, having been recently established, are also also contributing to the challenge police now face. Fast slipping away are the days when the New Zealand police could do a deal with mainstream media outlets, the same sort of favours as seen recently in the United Kingdoms News Of the World corruption scandal. If New Zealander’s think that their mainstream media is somehow any different then they need to think again.
Had it not been for social media and bloggers the #roast busters case would have become just another of the New Zealand police force’s successful cover-ups……..in fact given the speed of the so-called investigation, the police silence and the mainstream medias failure to keep up the pressure in that case it may still be headed in the direction of an “evolved” form of police white-wash…….the police are not completely stupid, they are beginning to cotton on.
Readers can view the video that was posted on facebook below (video source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzeos6j_4oo)
http://antonykitchener.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/12-hours-with-new-zealand-police/ (screen grab retrieved 8/7/2014, 12:45am [CET])