The fate of a young Auckland cop who illegally presented a Taser is yet to be decided, after his sentencing was adjourned today.
Constable Sean Mathew Doak faced two charges related to wielding a Taser but was cleared of one after a trial in August.
The jury found him not guilty of assault but guilty of presenting the restricted weapon.
Today at the Auckland District Court, lawyer Todd Simmonds argued for a discharge without conviction.
However, Judge Noel Sainsbury was unconvinced it was a certainty the 25-year-old would lose his job due to a conviction.
A decision regarding employment was based on the behaviour that had occurred, which would not change regardless of whether or not a conviction was entered, the judge said.
It was a decision beyond factors being discussed in this court, he said.
"That's a decision for the Commissioner."
On the face of it, at least, a conviction should be entered because of the abuse of position, he said.
It was minor offending but it has a serious feature that would ordinarily require a conviction, he said.
"We seem to be acquiring an extraordinary culture of blame", in which people were expected to have led a life of impeccable, impeachable behaviour at every turn.
There was some explanation as to why he did not act with the discipline expected, he said.
"That doesn't mean he can't be a good police officer, because people learn from mistakes."
Judge Sainsbury said people feared embarrassment and publicity.
It's the most venal, "unacceptable attitude and it is often rife in a risk-averse society".
That they might have to actually front up and justify a justifiable decision, he said.
Unless there was something to say the Commissioner was going to be one of "those venal", "gutless employers", he said.
Simmonds maintained the entering of a conviction may compromise Doak's employment with the police and successfully sought an adjournment to file further material.
"It's really important for this young guy that this application is advanced as fully, and with respect, as forcibly as possible."
The allegations against Doak came after a high-speed pursuit during the early hours of September 17, 2017.
The chase began in Mt Eden, with the fleeing driver in a white Subaru potentially reaching speeds of up to 200km/h, the court heard.
Police were forced to call off its ground units, while the Eagle helicopter tracked the suspect car to the underground carpark of Auckland's downtown casino.
The driver quickly bolted from the scene, leaving 23-year-old Mary Jane Takerei in the passenger seat.
Doak and his partner, Constable Florence Roberts, were the first officers on the scene.
Takerei told the court that Doak pepper sprayed her before she was dragged away by police holding her ankles.
"It burned really badly ... It just burned my whole face," she said of the pepper spray.
Multiple police officers, however, also said Takerei sprayed Roberts in the face with what appeared to be a can of CRC.
But Takerei has denied this.
Simmonds questioned Takerei's credibility and asked the jury if she was lying, which the young woman also denied.
After searching for the driver, Doak returned to Takerei - who was by this stage surrounded by police officers.
CCTV footage of the incident shows Doak kneeled down beside her with his Taser drawn as she lay on the ground.
Takerei claimed the constable then pressed his Taser on her forehead between her eyes.
"What's his f**king name, I swear to God I'll f**king Taser you," she claimed Doak yelled at her.
The video footage shows Takerei's legs flailing.
But she also added she couldn't open her eyes because of the pepper spray.
However, other police officers at the scene, including Roberts, told the court they didn't hear Doak threatening Takerei with his Taser or see him pressing it against her forehead.
The jury agreed and found Doak not guilty of the assault charge relating to the allegation.
Doak was also accused of presenting the Taser and firing the arc mode towards Takerei in the back of a police car as he and Roberts attempted to transport her home.
The arc option triggers the Taser to produce an electrical current between two prongs, a demonstration during the trial from Sergeant Darrin Putt showed.
A recording from the weapon showed the arc mode was activated very briefly, despite this, Takerei was not shocked at any stage.
She offered no evidence during the trial about the arc incident.
Simmonds today said the arcing was only activated for "one second".
"The arcing was fleeting. That's exactly what it was. It was very very brief.
"That may well explain why Ms Takerei appeared to not even notice the Taser."
Takerei was arrested for assaulting Roberts after slamming a car door against the officer's leg, while the wanted driver was later found by police leaving an elevator in the casino.
Doak currently remains a police employee and his employment investigation remains ongoing.
He was remanded to appear again on November 27 in the Waitakere District Court for sentencing.