A high-profile Auckland police officer has been cleared of a serious sexual allegation but still faces an internal employment investigation over his alleged behaviour.
A sexual violation complaint was made against Detective Inspector Mark Gutry last July which launched a wide-ranging inquiry, but police this week decided against laying criminal charges following advice from a senior Crown lawyer.
The complaint was made by an Auckland prostitute whom he had visited a number of times as a paying client.
Mr Gutry, who has headed numerous high profile investigations himself, was suspended from his role as field crime manager for the Counties Manukau police district while detectives from Wellington handled the case.
The evidence from the nine-month inquiry was reviewed by the Crown Solicitor of Wellington before a decision was made this week to not pursue a criminal prosecution against Mr Gutry, who is married with children.
His lawyer Todd Simmonds said the decision not to lay any criminal charges "is the clearest possible indication that the allegations made against Detective Inspector Mark Gutry had no substance".
"Detective Inspector Mark Gutry is obviously pleased with the outcome of the criminal investigation and his intention at this point in time is to return to police duties as soon as is possible," said Mr Simmonds.
Superintendent John Tims, Counties Manukau district commander, said the allegation was treated very seriously.
"We rightly expect high standards of behaviour from our staff and we have robust processes in place to deal with such complaints.
"We have looked at this complaint thoroughly from a criminal perspective and will now consider it under the Code of Conduct.
"We are also working closely with the complainant to keep them informed of the steps we are taking."
Mr Tims said he was absolutely committed to ensuring that the issue is dealt with appropriately.
"I am unable to prejudge the outcome of the employment process and we will not offer further comment until this is completed." said Mr Tims.
Mr Gutry remains suspended.