Graham Hohepa Anderson was doing everything right, earning a dollar and paying his tax.
Suddenly Mark Hansen's Ford Falcon was upon him. Car and truck collided, the Ford spun, cartwheeled and crunched against a lamp post. It was clear to all what had happened.
But Hansen was an off-duty police officer. The police decided the accident was not his fault but the truck driver's. They charged Anderson with careless use causing injury. That's an automatic loss of licence, and thereby job, and potentially prison.
Anderson pays his taxes expecting the police to protect him. Instead, they came after him.
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Anderson's lawyer telephoned, wrote and met police to highlight the inadequacies of their case. But all to no avail. The police pressed on. They were resolute. The off-duty police officer racing to work wasn't at fault. The truck driver was. Criminally so.
Judge Winter found the "police acted negligently in bringing and continuing this prosecution".
And he observed that "the fact that the 'victim' was an off-duty police officer provides a regrettable but available perception that the investigation and prosecution was tarnished with bias". Indeed.
Police bosses are now investigating. The investigation needs to look higher up.
Who made the decision to proceed with the prosecution? Who double-checked the investigation given that a police officer was involved? But, more especially, who is responsible for police culture enabling such an apparent abuse of police power and authority?
The Commissioner of Police should be fronting. He is not. Their own investigation is his excuse not to explain or defend. We are fortunate to have had a good lawyer and a wise judge. I can't say the same about the police leadership.
Debate on this article is now closed.