An Auckland District Court jury last night found a former policeman not guilty of historic sex charges.
The jury of seven women and five men took almost five hours to clear former police constable Timothy Ogle, 44, of seven charges including four of sexual violation and assault.
Name suppression for Mr Ogle was lifted after the verdict.
A 63-year-old woman, who has name suppression, claimed he had handcuffed and raped her in March 1988.
Mr Ogle fought back tears as verdicts were read out.
Outside the court, he said: "I'd just like to say that I've always said I never raped [the woman] and today the jury, they showed that that is the case." He said the case had wreaked havoc on his family, including his wife.
"It's had a terrible impact on us but today justice has been done and I'm just happy.
"It's haunted me for 16 years, coming up in 1994, again in '95 [and] '96. There's been so many slanderous media allegations against me but today we put it to rest."
Defence lawyer Gary Gotlieb claimed the Crown had prosecuted Mr Ogle only because the case was referred to the commission of inquiry into police conduct.
"And I have to say it again, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck from the Prime Minister referring it back to them. Hey, doesn't that make you feel uncomfortable? It certainly makes me feel uncomfortable."
Mr Gotlieb said it was "a terrible thing" to have to defend a case so long after the event.
"Particularly when it was investigated back in 1988, and went to the highest of the police, who found there wasn't a case to answer."
Mr Gotlieb told the jury in his closing submission that when they looked at the evidence they would see the complainant lacked credibility.
Judge Michael Lance told the jury it was not a case of whom to believe, but whether the Crown had proven its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.