A former Auckland police officer who was a paid informant for the criminal underworld has been granted parole.
Vili Mahe Taukolo was paid tens of thousands of dollars to access sensitive material for organised criminals, including information about an operation targeting a multimillion-dollar Mexican drug deal.
He was prosecuted and sentenced to two years and two months' imprisonment last December after pleading guilty to accessing the police's national intelligence application system (NIA) for a dishonest purpose.
Taukolo, who graduated from police college at the end of 2016, resigned shortly after he was charged.
In a Parole Board decision released to the Herald, panel convenor Judge Neil MacLean said Taukolo had continued with the same "commendable conduct" since his last hearing.
"There are glowing references in respect of his diligence, noting in particular his much-appreciated work with Covid cleaning in his role in the prison," Judge MacLean said.
Taukolo was in directed protective custody meaning he had not had access to the same reintegrative activities available to other prisoners.
However, since his last parole hearing he had been able to produce a "comprehensive" release and safety plan.
His lawyer told the Parole Board that an issue that had troubled the board previously
had been resolved.
At the last hearing a startling claim was made that Taukolo accessed the NIA and gave the information to other police officers knowing it was "likely to be used improperly".
Judge MacLean said: "She noted that senior police officers have confirmed that so far as they are aware, there were no other police who were acting in the same way as Mr Taukolo."
Taukolo has employment available to him and the Parole Board was satisfied the risk would not be undue if he was released now.
He will be released later this month.
The special conditions imposed for six months are:
• Not to communicate with anyone associating with a gang.
• To reside at the approved address and not move unless with the written approval of a Probation Officer.
• To obtain the written approval of a Probation Officer before changing employment.
• Not to possess, use, or consume alcohol, controlled drugs or psychoactive
substances except controlled drugs prescribed by a health professional.
• To attend an alcohol and drug assessment, as well as participate in any treatment or counselling directed by a Probation Officer.
Police have previously said when Taukolo's breaches were discovered they were reported to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
- Additional Reporting Sam Hurley