Friday, March 22, 2024

For once, the answer was "yes"

Back in January, Te Kāhui / Criminal Cases Review Commission referred a historic indecent assault case back to the Court of Appeal after finding that the police had coached a witness into identifying their chosen suspect, deliberately hidden what had happened from the court, and lied to investigators about it. At the time, I asked the usual question: would they be prosecuted? And for once, the answer was "yes":

Two police officers have been charged with perverting the course of justice after the Criminal Cases Review Commission raised issues about a police officer’s actions in allegedly influencing a victim in a sex case.

That man has since had his convictions quashed, acquittal’s entered and granted permanent name suppression by the High Court.

Court documents seen by Stuff show two men, one whose occupation is listed as as police officer, have been jointly charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2013.

They entered not guilty pleas on Friday and were granted interim name suppression.

Good. And hopefully this will deter future incidents of such corruption as well. Meanwhile, the police are going to need to review every case these officers have been involved in, for similar abuses. And if they don't, anyone convicted by their evidence may force the issue.

This is a natural consequence of having a body to investigate past miscarriages of justice. Some of those miscarriages will be the result of police corruption, and it is vital that where that is identified, the officers involved are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Not only is that essential to do right by their victims - which includes the victims of the crime they have now fucked up irreversibly - but also it is the only way we can have faith and confidence in the police as an institution, and in the justice system as a whole. If the police conspire to protect their own, then we have no reason to trust them.