A constable, a husband, a father - a criminal.

Jeremy Ata Malifa "brought shame and embarrassment to the police" with his unsanctioned and unlawful use of resources to stalk women he found sexually attractive.

The women he pursued were largely witnesses and victims at crime scenes and incidents across Auckland which he'd attended as a police officer.

The 34-year-old was sentenced today at the Auckland District Court to 400 hours of community work, 12 months' supervision, six months' community detention and ordered to pay $200 to each of his victims.

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He had been illegally using the national intelligence application police database (NIA), which stores people's personal details, vehicles, locations, phone numbers and offences.

A total of 21 women were targeted using the information, as Malifa learned of their personal lives and on one occasion even arrived unannounced at a victim's front door.

His career as a sworn officer had begun on March 20, 2008 - he commanded the rank of constable.

For two years the former volleyball star, who represented New Zealand as a junior, was seemingly a model officer of the law, someone people admired and liked in the community.

But in August 2010 the man from Tasman changed.

For no apparent or legitimate reason he began using the NIA to research a woman he'd met three years before.

He violated her privacy three times through October, but did not attempt to make contact. Then, for no apparent reason, he stopped - for little more than a month - before he attended an incident in November.

One of the women at the scene gave him her phone number - trusting the police officer would do the honourable thing.

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But he began to text the woman.

He hoped to spark a relationship, and when he needed more help to convince the woman he turned to the NIA for further information.

He eventually convinced the victim to engage in a sexual relationship with him for a year.

Malifa's offending then went on hiatus over the winter of 2011, but it returned again after he attended another incident in November that year.

He acquired the phone number of one of the women involved from another officer and "within a day or two" began sending her text messages. A month later he would again return to the NIA for help, searching her personal information.

Malifa's confidence in his offending was appearing to grow, for after attending an incident just a month later he brazenly began texting the victim the very next day - this time identifying himself under an alias.

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He would go on to search that woman on the NIA a total of 13 times, and led the woman into a sexual relationship with him until early 2016.

Judge Taumaunu said at a sentencing indication hearing that Malifa manipulated already vulnerable victims. Photo / Supplied
Judge Taumaunu said at a sentencing indication hearing that Malifa manipulated already vulnerable victims. Photo / Supplied

The well-built man, who attended Nelson's Waimea College, would use two aliases during his half-decade-long criminal career. Both of the names, suppressed by the court, were those of real people.

And despite Malifa entering his user ID every time he accessed the database, leaving a digital footprint, his offending continued.

In the intervening years to October 2015, Malifa used the NIA in his quest to stalk a further 17 women. Of the 21 total women he preyed upon, he would go on to start a sexual relationship with eight.

The constable had also been issued an Apple iPhone by police on June 4, 2013.

But this only made his offending easier.

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Using the smartphone, Malifa was now able to remotely access eQuip, an application gateway to the NIA for police employees. Court documents show he used it dozens of times to search his victims.

Malifa stalked another women in 2014, which he took a fancy to. He began texting her but the women did not respond to his advances.

She has since said she "cannot even remember meeting him".

While on a training course at Royal Police College in Porirua during 2015, Malifa also searched for what appeared to be a random man's number plate on the NIA.

However, his intentions were far more sinister. And he quickly gained access to the cellphone number of the man's daughter.

His first text to her read: "Hey, how are you :)"

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A digital conversation followed, but the pair did not engage in a relationship.

Speaking to the Herald exclusively after sentencing, Detective Inspector Hayden Mander said a witness first brought Malifa's offending to the attention of police.

"And about the same time one of the victims informed police," he added.

Detectives then began investigating one of their own and after a lengthy internal investigation Malifa resigned from his duties on December 10, 2015.

He was criminally charged and appeared in court for the first time on January 25 this year.

The women he'd searched included an old acquaintance, those involved in police incidents and traffic stops, and the daughter of an unknown man.

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Court documents show that Malifa was using the computer system to "get a better understanding of [the women] to assist him with trying to encourage [them] into starting a relationship with him".

Malifa now works as a builder.

He continues to see his three children on the weekend but has separated from his wife.

'You have brought great shame and embarrassment to the police'

The extent and nature of Malifa's offending shocked many police officers he had worked with. Photo / Michael Craig
The extent and nature of Malifa's offending shocked many police officers he had worked with. Photo / Michael Craig

At the pre-sentence indication hearing Judge Heemi Taumaunu said the mitigating factors relating to Malifa's offending were "nil".

"I cannot see any and do not intent to take any into account," he said.

"Your offending in this way is absolutely unacceptable. It was dishonest. Not only was it dishonest, you were manipulating victims who were already vulnerable as a result of your contact with them and you were taking advantage of them."

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He said Malifa was conducting his inquiries in a "predatory manner" and his conduct was "abusive" towards his victims.

"As a result of your offending it is an aggravating feature that you have now made it more difficult for females who are required to provide, or are requested to provide, information to male police officers to trust those male police officers in the future that they will not abuse the position of trust that they are in.

"You have brought shame and embarrassment to the police as a result of your actions."

Taumaunu said Malifa's actions had "lowered the reputation of the police in the eyes of the victims".

"And no doubt if . . . the sentencing is then able to be reported by media, it will have a similar effect throughout the community.

"The breach of trust is obviously gross. You have, by your actions, created major adverse impacts for the victims.

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"It is fair to say that over this five-year period your offending was sustained, it was repetitive."

Taumaunu had said during the pre-sentence hearing that Malifa would receive the full 25 per cent discount for a guilty plea, but "it will take quite a great deal of persuading for me to go anything less than 12 months' home detention for this offending".

Malifa: 'I'm happy not to be in jail'

Malifa lowered the reputation of the police in the eyes of the community, the judge said. Photo / Michael Craig
Malifa lowered the reputation of the police in the eyes of the community, the judge said. Photo / Michael Craig

Malifa told police investigating the case that he had a "text-messaging addiction".

He said he would access the NIA system to find women he thought would be receptive to his advances or that he thought were "good looking", court documents read.

One of the text messages he sent to a woman in 2015 read, "Hi :) how are you?"

Another the same year to a separate woman read, "I thought you were amazing tonight :)"

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A pre-sentence indication report said Malifa had a "sexual preoccupation" and was suffering from low self-esteem. It went on to read that he sought gratification via his liaisons with women.

Outside the courtroom an emotional Malifa told the Herald he was sorry for the hurt and harm he'd caused his victims, and apologised for the shame he'd brought to the police force.

Later he told media he'll "just try to rebuild my life really, keep working and take care of my kids".

"Obviously, I've separated from my wife, but I've still got three young kids so obviously I'm happy not to be in jail," he said.

'The offending shocked a lot of police'

Malifa was described as a 'predator' by the judge. Photo / Michael Craig
Malifa was described as a 'predator' by the judge. Photo / Michael Craig

"The extent of his offending and the offending itself shocked a lot of police who have worked with him in the past," Mander said.

However, the detective inspector said there was never a question of whether to investigate one of their own.

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"Police are held to account for their behaviours and we expect police officers to live within the values that we have; professionalism, integrity, respect and empathy for our victims," he said.

"We have no issues whatsoever in investigating a police officer if he's falling outside of that."

He said the "vast majority" of police wish to "make a difference and look after the victims".

"Malifa wasn't."

He said police cast a wide net on Malifa's offending and believed many of his victims had come forward, but there was also "a chance that . . . there may be others out there".

The NIA, he said, had also been updated as a result of Malifa's crimes and no longer used a manual audit process.

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"Now we've moved to a more intelligence-based process where we can focus more on various aspects, but ultimately what we rely on is that the vast majority of our staff uphold the values."

He said the vast quantity of personal information in the NIA came with a great sense of responsibility for officers not to "abuse that trust".

"We're are the guardians of that information," he added.

"We serve at the discretion of the community and we need the trust and confidence of members of the public to do our job."

The New Zealand Police Code of Conduct

On page seven of the code of conduct, issued to all police staff, it states that "employees do not access or use confidential, personal, or sensitive information for personal purposes or advantage, or divulge such information to another person outside of official duties or as otherwise required by law".

Malifa wasn't the first police officer to dishonestly access the NIA system.

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Timothy Sarah, of Auckland, was jailed for four years in 2013 on three charges of supplying meth, one charge of possessing methamphetamine and one charge of dishonestly accessing a computer system.

Sarah was working as a non-sworn police prosecutor when he was arrested in 2011 after police discovered he had been selling the class A drug.

He also admitted illegally using the police NIA computer system to obtain information about fellow drug dealers and associates so he could warn them of police interest in them.

And in 2013, Constable Peter Pakau supplied information from the NIA to a criminal associate and was later sentenced to eight years and four months in prison for drugs and corruption convictions.