Disgraced Hawke's Bay cop convicted

By Corey Charlton

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A woman attacked by an intoxicated off-duty police constable says she's glad the officer has been convicted.

Ex-Hastings constable Mikayla Paul, 23, was convicted of assault and ordered to pay a fine at the Napier District Court yesterday for her violent attack on another female on June 2 last year.

In December, she was found guilty for the incident which occurred on a bus transporting people to an Ahuriri bar.

Her victim, Lisa O'Connor, yesterday told Hawke's Bay Today she was pleased with the outcome.

"I think it's good," she said. "It's worked out finally in the end. I'm just glad she got found guilty."

At the end of the hearing last year, Paul's defence lawyer Jonathan Krebs indicated his client would apply to be discharged without conviction. Yesterday, he said that was no longer the case.

"As a consequence of what occurred on that night ... she has made the decision to change her life," he told Judge Russell Callander. "She has resigned from the police and will shortly move to Australia."

He said Paul was "deeply remorseful" and the loss of her career "in itself is an enormous penalty for a young woman".

She was ordered to pay $500 emotional harm reparation - $300 of which would go to Ms O'Connor - and court costs of $132. Witness expenses relating to last year's hearing of $250 were also ordered.

Evidence heard in court showed that Paul had assaulted Ms O'Connor on a bus which was taking a group of people to the Thirsty Whale bar and restaurant. Earlier that evening, Ms O'Connor had accused Paul and her friend of snorting drugs in a rugby club toilet cubicle, which they strongly denied. Ms O'Connor suffered from bruising and had clumps of hair missing after the assault.

It was Paul's third conviction while in the police force. In February 2010, she pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing injury. In November 2010, she pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified.

She had been subject to an internal police investigation and was on restricted duties before her recent resignation.

Senior Sergeant Fred van Duuren said it had been an appropriate outcome.

"When a police officer faces allegations of this nature, they are investigated thoroughly and in accordance with proper processes," he said.

"The results are the same as [for] any other citizen.

"It's certainly not something that we want to do, but it has to be done. We do it so that the public can maintain confidence in police. The public needs to see that we deal with matters appropriately and in this case that's what happened.

Paul was understood to have found new employment in Australia.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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