Cop 'worked for meth ring gang'

By Abby Gillies

Peter Pakau
Peter Pakau

A police officer has been charged with organising drug runs for a methamphetamine ring and accessing the police computer system to tip off his colleagues in the Head Hunters gang.

Father of five, Peter Pakau, was arrested yesterday on 27 counts relating to methamphetamine, in addition to allegedly accessing the computer system and supplying information to gang members.

The 36-year-old from Henderson stood in the dock with his arms folded during his appearance in the Waitakere District Court.

His wife, Diane Pakau, a Waikato health worker, and seven others arrested in relation to the alleged enterprise also appeared at court.

Peter Pakau is allegedly part of the enterprise, which manufactured and distributed methamphetamine.

He was linked to two methamphetamine cooks whom he organised to manufacture the drug, which he would then take in "substantial amounts" to his dealer or supplier, according to the summary of facts.

"His role was significant because he was accessing the police computer system," said Crown prosecutor Brett Tantrum.

The information was used to advise Pakau's associates, who included members of the Head Hunters gang.

The drugs charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Pakau is also charged with conspiring to defeat the course of justice on three occasions and theft of a vehicle, and Mr Tantrum said further charges against him were likely.

Judge Lisa Tremewan told Pakau: "These are gravely serious allegations in that you, as a sworn police officer, have been charged with serious drugs-related matters."

A police investigation involved tracking devices on Pakau's car, and evidence included details of him accessing the computer system and intercepted communications he took part in, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Denise Wallwork sought name suppression for Pakau, arguing publicity could cause "extreme hardship" to his elderly mother with a heart condition, who she said was not aware of the charges.

However, Mr Tantrum said Pakau's mother was present when the constable was arrested yesterday.

Ms Wallwork also sought bail for Pakau, saying he had no previous convictions and, if imprisoned, could be subjected to harassment.

She said the Pakaus' children, aged 1 to 16, included a 4-year-old who recently suffered head injuries in a car accident and needed ongoing care.

Mr Tantrum said police opposed bail. He said because of Pakau's past access to the computer system, there was a risk he would interfere with evidence or witnesses.

Judge Tremewan agreed and said she was not convinced by the defence lawyer's argument to give Pakau bail.

She remanded him in custody until a plea inquiry hearing next month.

Pakau could be kept in segregation if there was a risk he would be harassed, the judge said.

Diane Pakau, Shane Boag, Paul Holloway, Melissa Brown and four others have also been charged in relation to the criminal group.

Pakau graduated from Police College in 2008, winning a section achievement award for his contribution to the success of his wing.

He was posted to Henderson.

A year later, he was acknowledged for rescuing a woman being assaulted during a domestic incident in Waitakere when he reportedly tackled her offender to the ground.

A woman who grew up with Pakau said she was shocked, given the family's tragedies.

In 2006, the bodies of Pakau's brother and sister, Fiu and Lesa, were found in the family garage in Henderson.

The pair - who worked as prison officers - had died of gunshot wounds.

"He was a real family guy and he pulled his family together after the double homicide. I remember he really looked after his mum after that," said the woman, who did not want to be named.

"I always remember him as a lovely guy who loved watching DVDs at home with his kids."

Police in trouble

• Two weeks ago, police prosecutor Timothy John Russell Sarah was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to five charges, including supplying methamphetamine and accessing the police intelligence computer.

• Another member of the same drug ring was Auckland traffic police officer Darren Ian Hodgetts, 34. He pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court in January to accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose, and was sentenced to four months' community detention.

• Last month, former drug squad detective Mark Ernest Langford, 43, was sentenced to community work after admitting stealing cash that had been seized in a raid from a police safe, and more from a colleague's drawer after an in-office collection. Langford spent the money drinking and gambling at SkyCity casino.

• Last year, former police officer Karis Rewa Charley was accused of giving her boyfriend a uniform and documents to help him steal a car. Her case was dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

• In February 2010, Henderson-based Sergeant Martin Folan was charged with assaulting five prisoners in custody over a four-month period. The 47-year-old was acquitted on all five charges but resigned from the police months later before an internal investigation concluded.

- NZ Herald

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