Jailed former senior Rotorua policeman John Dewar masterminded his own downfall, through self-delusion and vanity, a sentencing judge told the High Court at Hamilton today.
Dewar was sentenced to 4-1/2 years, after being found guilty in August on four charges of attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice, involving the handling of historic sex allegations by Louise Nicholas.
Dewar today specifically instructed his lawyer to tell the court he maintained his innocence, saying he believed he had done nothing wrong.
Dewar, 55, self-employed father of four of Hamilton, was chief inspector of Rotorua CIB when Mrs Nicholas approached police in 1993, with two historic sex allegations, including those against suspended assistant commissioner Clint Rickards and former policemen Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum.
The three men would much later be found not guilty on those charges - although Shipton and Schollum were already serving jail terms for another rape.
The Crown said Dewar suppressed allegations Mrs Nicholas made against the three men.
He also attempted to pervert the course of justice during the trial of another former policeman, who has permanent name suppression, accused of raping her, by giving inadmissible evidence.
Among those in the packed public gallery was Dewar's visibly upset wife, Louise, and a large number of family and friends.
Alongside them sat Mrs Nicholas, surrounded by a group of her supporters.
Also in the gallery was the woman, who has name suppression, at the centre of historic sex allegations against Rickards, Shipton and Schollum, which all three men were found not guilty of in the High Court in Auckland in March.
Justice Rodney Hansen was scathing in his assessment of Dewar's actions, telling him he had a "remarkable capacity for self-delusion and avoidance".
Justice Hansen said comments made by Dewar to his probation officer showed he maintained his innocence, had shown no remorse and felt "only anger toward Louise Nicholas".
Dewar felt an "overwhelming sense of injustice", he said.
The most charitable view Justice Hansen said he could take of Dewar's actions were "you were somehow able to convince yourself that you were helping" Mrs Nicholas.
"Your own vanity and hubris has bought about your own plight."
Justice Hansen said a victim impact statement by Mrs Nicholas went "beyond permissible boundaries" and therefore he could not allow her to read it out in court, choosing to read out extracts from the statement himself.
In the statement Mrs Nicholas said she had walked into Dewar's office in 1993, hoping "to put to rest the nightmare" but instead was forced to relive the "horrific events" over the course of several trials.
Mrs Nicholas said she had been "slammed around courtrooms like a tennis ball".
"I have had to live in a veil of silence for years" all the while "putting on a strong brave face for my daughters, while I was dying within".
Dewar faced up to seven years on each charge, with Justice Hansen taking six years as a starting point and then taking 18 months off for mitigating factors.
Dewar had suffered a career setback from which, because of his age, he was unlikely to ever financially or professionally recover, he said.
Being a former policeman would also bring an additional level of hardship in prison, he said.
However, Dewar had persistently offended and brought harm to a "vulnerable victim" and to the institutions which he was sworn to serve and protect, he said.
Justice Hansen said he was satisfied Dewar was motivated to protect Mr Rickards, Schollum and in particular Shipton, dismissing Dewar's explanation he was acting to protect Mrs Nicholas as "utterly implausible".
Justice Hansen said Dewar committed the offences as a high ranking police officer and the harm which had flowed from the offending included damaging public confidence in police.
"Had Louise Nicholas' allegations been properly investigated, prosecutions would have been bought and discharged within a couple of years."
Mrs Nicholas was denied access to justice at a time when she sought it and most needed it, he said.
"You exploited her vulnerability for your own ends."
Dewar abused his powers and "utterly betrayed her trust in you".
Outside the court Mrs Nicholas told media Dewar had bought the situation on himself and it was unfortunate he had not shown any remorse.
Mrs Nicholas said while she was satisfied with today's sentencing there would never be any closure for her.