Top cop who admitted assault discharged without conviction

By Patrice Dougan

Richard Wilkie. Photo / File
Richard Wilkie. Photo / File

A judge was heckled as he handed a police inspector who assaulted two teenagers a discharge without conviction today.

The unknown man shouted from the public gallery that the decision was an "absolute scandal'' as Manurewa area commander Richard Wilkie, 51, was told of his sentence at Auckland District Court this morning.

He pleaded guilty in July to two charges of assault during an off-duty incident, after discovering his 14-year-old daughter drinking with other teenagers in Bucklands Beach, Auckland in the early hours.

The inspector was among parents called to take their children home, arriving with his wife Ann, a Counties Manukau detective, "lightly dressed'' and without footwear after being woken up by police last April.

The teens were described in court as sitting calmly on a grass verge "compliant and not causing any offence'' when Mr Wilkie arrived.

He approached one of the boys and kicked him firmly in the shin with his foot, before kicking another youth in the thigh.

However, Judge Brooke Gibson said the scale of the violence was minor, and had not left any physical or psychological injuries on the teens. The boys, "to their credit'', did not hold a grudge against Mr Wilkie, the judge said.

He also acknowledged that Mr Wilkie was upset and angry at his daughter for sneaking out without permission, which he said was "understandable from any responsible parent''.

Mr Wilkie had accepted responsibility for his actions and shown remorse, he said.
Judge Gibson gave a discharge without conviction, and ordered court costs of $132.89, as well as $500 to each of Mr Wilkie's victims.

As the verdict was given a lone protester in the public gallery shouted: "It's an absolute scandal.'' He continued to shake his head as the Wilkie family and supporters left court.

Mr Wilkie, dressed smartly in a suit and tie, was hugged by family members outside court, some wiping tears from their eyes as they did so.

The officer declined to comment after his discharge, but his lawyer Richard Earwaker said he and his family were "very relieved''.

"It's been hard for him and his family, he's acted very responsibly right from the start, he obviously is very remorseful, he feels for the young complainants,'' he said.

Mr Earwaker said the past six months has been "difficult'' for the Wilkie family, but said the inspector had "a strong character'' and had continued working in the job he loves.

Mr Wilkie will now face an internal police investigation into the incident.

- APNZ

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