The brother of the man accused of a cold-case murder is a senior criminal profiler who has worked overseas tracking down war criminals.

Detective Sergeant Brett Pakenham has been with police for 23 years and is officer in charge of the Auckland-based NZ Police Criminal Profiling Unit based.

His brother Mark Pakenham 49, last week was charged with murdering Kerepehi woman Sara Niethe at his then Kaihere home in March 2003. He was remanded in custody and is due to reappear in court next month.

Between 2001 and 2006 Detective Pakenham worked as a senior investigator at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.

In a profile he spoke of his day-to-day work which included preparing profiles of unidentified offenders, and crime analysis reports.

Detective Pakenham has a psychology degree and works in the Auckland Metro Crime and Operations Support (AMCOS) unit. He has 23 years policing experience.

In a statement, he said: "It is a difficult time for both families, including Sara's children. I prefer to make no further comment as the case is before the court."

A police spokeswoman told nzherald.co.nz it was "inappropriate" to comment on cases that were before the courts.

"However, speaking generally, from time to time relatives of police employees come to police attention. In such situations all police employees, regardless of their position or circumstances, are required to act impartially and inform managers where any actual or perceived conflict of interest could arise."

The spokeswoman said staff were aware that official information should be treated in confidence and only accessed for legitimate business purposes.

"Police file management systems allow for restricted access to be applied where required. This function is utilised whenever operational sensitivity or security requirements dictate - and limited to staff directly involved in an investigation. These file management functions were applied in this case."