Rickards to face 11 internal disciplinary charges

Suspended assistant police commissioner Clint Rickards will face 11 internal disciplinary charges.

Police National Headquarters said Peter Salmon QC had been appointed as Tribunal to inquire into these charges.

The substantive hearing into the charges is scheduled to take place in February 2008.

Mr Rickards, and two former police officers Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton were found not guilty in March on charges of kidnapping and indecently assaulting Louise Nicholas when she was 16, in Rotorua more than 20 years ago.

Mr Rickards has remained suspended while an internal police inquiry into his conduct continued.

Schollum and Shipton are serving jail sentences for other unrelated sex crimes.

It had been anticipated that Mr Rickards would face internal disciplinary charges for serious misconduct, effectively bringing an end to his 27-year career in the police.

Under the process of the tribunal hearing if police decide to lay charges then those charges are put to Mr Rickards and his legal team, who would then have about a week to decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty.

It is believed Mr Rickards has already indicated he will plead not guilty as a tribunal date has already been set.

Mrs Nicholas would not comment on the police charges today.

"It is probably best for me not to comment because Rickards has already said a wee while ago he was going to look at taking action against me.

"Anything I say will probably be reviewed. I am best to back off and say nothing at this stage. I don't want to give him any ammo," she said.

In July Mr Rickards accused the Crown of withholding evidence during his historical sex charges trial.

The Herald on Sunday reported Mr Rickards had laid a complaint with the Canterbury District Law Society alleging crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway did not present evidence that would have been favourable to his defence during the trial .

Mr Stanaway, who could face a fine, censure or be struck off if the allegations are proven, denied the charge.

Police National Headquarters spokesman Jon Neilson told NZPA it was undecided whether the tribunal would sit in Wellington or Auckland.

It would be for Mr Salmon to determine whether the tribunal would be open to media or would be heard behind closed doors, he said.

Mr Neilson said it was for Mr Rickards' legal team to comment on when he was informed that the charges would be laid.

Mr Neilson declined to say what charges Mr Rickards faced.

- NZPA

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