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Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Cleared father remains defiant

Complaint planned to police watchdog

Jack Maikuku no longer faces disorderly behaviour charges. Photo / Michael Craig
Jack Maikuku no longer faces disorderly behaviour charges. Photo / Michael Craig

A row of carved fence posts tell the stories of the Kawhia area's ancestors. But history never stops, and resident Jack Maikuku has an idea for a new carving, one that reflects an infamous part of recent Kawhia.

"They could do one with someone lying down on their stomach, like Jackie."

Jackie is Maikuku's 20-year-old son, who has been in police custody since an incident at the Kawhia Wharf on January 11 when the local police officer was badly bruised.

Jackie Maikuku is charged with assaulting Constable Perry Griffin, but has not pleaded and will appear in court again on March 18.

Jack Maikuku, 49, was also charged but police dropped that on Monday. Another 15-year-old was referred to Youth Aid.

Police initially alleged Griffin was beaten and stripped of his pepper spray, Taser and pistol by a group of people as he tried to arrest Jackie Maikuku on outstanding warrants.

But Jack Maikuku claims Griffin activated his call alert button seven minutes before the melee began, then pepper-sprayed Jackie unnecessarily.

"(Jackie) wasn't threatening until Perry sprayed him.

"Everyone who knows him knows you could put a mince pie on top of the truck and you would've got him. But put a stick in front of him and he's going to react.

"(His charges were) mostly for driving offences. It's not as if he was the most wanted man in New Zealand."

When police back-up arrived, Jackie lay on the ground as told, Maikuku said.

Waikato West Area Commander, Inspector Paul Carpenter, would not comment while the matter was before court.

Maikuku said he was surprised to be arrested.

Griffin charged him with disorderly behaviour two years ago but that charge was also dropped.

The former automotive engineer, who lost his leg in a car crash 16 years ago, said returning home after his arrest was awkward.

"People would look at you and the moment you'd look back they'd look away."

He had learned a lot about media scrutiny and the police process, and planned to complain to the Police Complaints Authority, Maikuku said.


'Two sides to the story'

Constable Perry Griffin's boat is still in the driveway of Kawhia's police station.

In the yard of the attached watchhouse, his children's toys lie scattered across the grass.

At the nearby preschool, Griffin's wife Tracey is still on staff, although her shifts were initially changed so she wouldn't be working with Lisa Maikuku, whose son Jackie is charged with attacking the policeman seven weeks ago.

Waikato West Area Commander, Inspector Paul Carpenter, said Griffin was on annual leave. He would not comment on when, or if, Griffin would return to the isolated post.

Griffin couldn't talk about what had happened, but said the community was behind him. "I've had incredible support. You just need to talk to the people out there. There's two sides to the story."

- Herald on Sunday

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