Corrupt former cop sentenced to home detention

By Cullen Smith

Gordon Meyer will spend nine months on home detention after avoiding jail time for bribery and indecent assault. Photo / Martin Hunter
Gordon Meyer will spend nine months on home detention after avoiding jail time for bribery and indecent assault. Photo / Martin Hunter

Corrupt former Christchurch policeman Gordon Stanley Meyer has avoided a jail sentence on charges of bribery and indecent assault.

Meyer, 45, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of bribery for suggesting a suspected drink-driver could avoid being charged if she performed oral sex on him, and for indecently assaulting an 18-year-old he groped while giving her a lift in his patrol car.

A former senior constable based at the Christchurch South police station, Meyer resigned from his police job on the day he pleaded guilty.

In the High Court today, Justice Graham Panckhurst sentenced Meyer to nine months home detention and ordered him to pay $3000 to each of his two victims in reparation for emotional harm.

Meyer, who had chalked up 19 years' service, pulled a car over in Riccarton in September 2011 and spoke to a woman driver who was with a male friend.

When a breath test suggested the 23-year-old woman was over the limit she asked: "What options do I have?"

Meyer said they could sort it out "on a personal level" and said charges would go away if she performed oral sex on him.

He took the woman's car keys and drove her and her companion home, intending to call back later for sex. She exposed her breasts at his request and got out of the car. But when he returned the woman sent a friend out to tell Meyer she wanted nothing to do with him.

Between September 15 and October 10 Meyer telephoned the woman 19 times from his home phone, his personal cellphone, the patrol sergeant's cellphone and other phones at the police station.

When he stopped a car she was travelling in as a passenger on October 20, she "freaked out" thinking he was stalking her and made a formal complaint.

Meyer also admitted indecently assaulting an 18-year-old while on duty in his patrol car in April 2011. He had met the woman on official police duties and when he saw her in a Hornby pub offered her a lift to a Riccarton bar.

On the way he pulled into a side street, grabbed the woman's hand, placed it on his crotch and attempted to undo the zip. She pulled her hand away and Meyer then put his hand under her top and bra and touched her breasts.

Justice Panckhurst told Meyer that both women said in their victim impact statements of feeling "powerless" against a police officer in uniform.

He said Meyer's former colleagues were also victims of his "sleazy" behaviour that brought discredit on a police force generally believed to be free from corruption.

One victim hoped Meyer would learn to understand the gravity of his offending.

Information provided in pre-sentence reports and a psychiatric report outlined Meyer's behaviour as becoming repeatedly inappropriate.

Justice Panckhurst said Meyer had abused his police powers.

"You utilised them to your own selfish needs - for sexual gratification," he said.

"The complainants suffered at your hands, not just on those nights, but in one case over several weeks as you pursued the sexual gratification that was on offer."

Earlier, Meyer's lawyer, Jonathan Eaton QC said Meyer "unreservedly" offered his apologies to the victims, his former police employer and his colleagues of 19 years.

Mr Eaton submitted a home detention sentence was appropriate rather than prison.

Meyer had been publicly humiliated, suffered "complete and utter condemnation" in media coverage that was at times "Inaccurate, sensational and salacious," Mr Eaton said. He had lost his career and the social network provided within the police.

Justice Panckhurst gave Meyer credit for his guilty pleas that saved his victims having to appear in court and noted his "exemplary" career until the offending came to light.

He said he was satisfied home detention was appropriate "given the circumstances of your offending" and Meyer's low risk of reoffending.

A prison sentence would be "disproportionately severe" because, as a former police officer Meyer would likely have to serve his sentence in isolation.

He sentenced Meyer to nine months' home detention on each charge and ordered him to pay $3000 reparation to each of his victims.

He also gave Meyer a "first strike" warning under new laws that provide heavy penalties for repeat violent and sexual offenders.

- CHRISTCHURCH STAR

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