The Court of Appeal has rejected an argument that police officers who discovered a meth lab in a Northland holiday home trespassed on the property and improperly obtained evidence.
Jeffery Hall, who was convicted and sentenced in the Whangārei District Court last year to 10 years in prison for his role in the drug offending at Dolphin Pl in Tutukaka, has lost his appeal against conviction.
The meth lab on the Tutukaka Coast was busted in 2016 after a property manager became suspicious and called police.
Police found 332g of meth and 1.2 litres in liquid form in two containers and 11 bags. The total yield was nearly 1kg of meth.
Hall went to the Court of Appeal before his trial last year in a bid to overturn a District Court's ruling that the evidence obtained by a search of the house was admissible.
The Court of Appeal ruled police officers who went to the holiday home acted within the scope of the implied licence that permits anyone to go on to a property for the purpose of speaking to the occupants.
However, the court said by peering through the window, one of the officers had exceeded the scope of the implied licence and rendered all officers as trespassers.
Because of the breach, evidence was improperly obtained.
But the court ruled exclusion of the evidence would be a disproportionate response to the low level of the breach.
Hall, 26, challenged that ruling but has lost.
His lawyer, Mark Ryan, told the Court of Appeal police could not rely on "implied licence" to justify going on to the property and were in investigatory mode before getting there.
The Crown argued police knew there was a possibility there could be a meth lab on the property but that did not negate their ability to go to the door for investigative purposes and communicate with the occupants.
Hall and his co-offenders, Kimberley Gibbons Hurinui, Tama Watene-Toi, were each charged with manufacturing meth, possession of equipment with an intention of manufacturing meth, possession of meth for supply, unlawful possession of a restricted weapon, unlawful possession of a pistol, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of an explosive.
All three were found guilty of manufacturing meth. Watene-Toi was also found guilty of possession of equipment with an intention of manufacturing meth.
Hall was also found guilty on charges of possession of equipment, possession of a shotgun and possession of ammunition.
The jury found them not guilty on the remaining charges.
A fourth person, Julian Roberts, 44, pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of a firearm and single charges of possession of equipment, manufacturing meth and possession for supply of meth.