Judge convicts disqualified constable


A Hastings constable who was dobbed in by another police officer for driving while disqualified has failed in a bid to be discharged without conviction.
Constable Mikayla Paul, 22, appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to the July 15 incident.
In February this year, Paul was convicted on a charge of careless driving causing injury, and was disqualified from driving for six months as a result of failing to give way before injuring a motorcyclist and his pillion passenger in Bay View last year.
She was off duty at the time.
She was later granted a limited licence which enabled her to drive only to work at the Hastings Police Station.
It stated she could drive 45 minutes before her shift, and 45 minutes at the end of her shift. The licence also stipulated she take the most direct route to work.
At yesterday's sentencing, the court heard how another police officer reported Paul to her superiors after she saw her driving on Napier's Dalton St in July.
Her lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, argued against a conviction, claiming Paul's career would be put in jeopardy and she would likely be dealt with more seriously by her employer.
On the day of the offending, he said arrangements for her to be picked up and taken to work had fallen through. "She was in a position where she was in Napier but without a driver," Mr Krebs said.
He said his client did not deny knowledge of the conditions, yet claimed if the limited licence had been "framed more generally", the geographical breach may not have occurred.
He asked for a sentence of community work rather than further disqualification, claiming not being able to drive would preclude her from carrying out her policing duties.

Out-of-town police prosecutor Shelley Watson-Hughes opposed the application, claiming the gravity was increased by Paul's decision to drive.
"It's not a situation where she had no other option than to drive."
She argued a conviction "won't have a great effect" on her employment inquiry.
Judge Bridget Mackintosh entered a conviction and said police would "make up their own minds" as to how serious the breach was.
"It seems to me there were other options for Ms Paul," Judge Mackintosh said.
"There's been a large amount of court appearances and it's time to draw this matter to a close."
She sentenced Paul to 60 hours community work.
No order for disqualification was made.
Eastern Police Communications manager Kris McGehan told Hawke's Bay Today a conviction may not have any bearing on the inquiry.
"The employment investigation is concerned with potential breaches of the Police Code of Conduct - admitting to an offence is potentially a breach, irrespective of any conviction," Ms McGehan said.
"Once the investigation is completed, the District Commander will reach a view as to whether her behaviour amounts to possible serious misconduct."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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