A Rotorua police officer has been found not guilty of seriously assaulting a man but his future with the police force is still to be determined.

Constable David Mear had been on trial in the Rotorua District Court after pleading not guilty to wounding a man with intent to injure and assaulting him with a police torch.

During the trial, the jury was told that at about 3am on August 28, 2010, Harley Collier was stopped by police after a high-speed vehicle pursuit.

Another officer gave evidence of seeing Mr Mear hit Mr Collier with a torch and putting his face on the ground, resulting in a fractured left eye socket and a cut to the head.


It took the jury just over an hour this afternoon to find Mr Mear not guilty of both charges.

There was a loud applause from the public gallery after the verdicts were read out and Mr Mear thanked the jury before leaving the dock and hugging his wife.

Outside court, Mr Mear and his wife cried and hugged their supporters.

He declined to comment.

In his closing address, defence lawyer Paul Mabey QC had said Mr Collier did not deserve the treatment he got at the hands of the Rotorua police but Mear was innocent.

Mr Mabey criticised the length of time it took for police to launch an investigation, the "inadequate" paperwork by senior police officers and the lack of forensic evidence.

"The investigation was inadequate... You do not make a decision on the innocence or guilt with information that shabby."

Mr Mear has been suspended on full pay since the start of the investigation late 2010. It was not immediately clear if or when he would rejoin the force.