Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Palmerston North Police use 'weird' interrogation practice,

“A very dear friend sat on his sun porch and pondered his adventurist past, looking back he realised that many long years had passed by, in fact many of them had been very exciting, especially since he had been at the forefront of the very meek and virtually non-violent [by today’s standards] Terrorist movement in Scotland…who were seeking justice from their English long term slave masters.

He was of course young back then, but he had a love for Scotland, his much loved highland home. And he shared willingly in a little nationalistic mischief behaviour… and was in the end forced to depart the local scene.

He headed to Europe, Germany in particular and started an adventure which included working for the American military and that in itself was just a little ironic he thought…from there he ended up in the United States and after being educated at university he commenced working amongst the world of books, a librarian no less.

This saw him slowly but progressively edge his way south until he crossed the massive Pacific Ocean and end up in Palmerston North.

He had left a country where the police were a mixed bag, in fact it was often thought and portrayed in movies that they were more corrupt than the local bad guys. He had arrived in a country that he thought held police behaviour to be non-corrupt and he preferred this belief. But was or is his belief correct?

This man was also one of rare breed of people who understood what the word politics meant to people in their everyday activities…in fact besides being employed in various roles ranging from Massey University to editor of one of our local papers his participation in community collective activism continued to grow. He believed in justice, real justice not pretend justice.

But by now he he was paying dearly for a childhood living in the shocking and disgusting damp slum housing of Scotland. His life up to this point had been both exciting and sometimes emotionally rewarding but alas, his past health problems were catching up with him.

But when in December 2014 a couple of police persons paid him a call…and asked him to give a hand writing sample, for It would appear that someone had sent threatening messages to staff, or someone at the PNCC, and it would seem they must have brought the matter to the attention of the local police, who in turn had somehow or other linked the hand written letter/note/ to him. I don’t think he was ever told the actual connection..

Our gentle and unsuspecting suspect, which is what he must have been for the police to have even connected him to the ‘threatening’ message…somebody must have brought up his name, and this appears to have turned this very gentle and unwell person into a suspect of the highest order. We all know today how easy it is to brush others with the broad and misused term ‘terrorist’ or some such other equally stupid title. While the police behaviour may not be actually stupid in this case it must come close...

But the strangest part in this police exercise in 'weird' interrogation practice, was what they asked him to actually do…which was to write a ‘confession’ confessing to the writing of the letter to the council’, now I know that is hard to comprehend, but according to him that is exactly what took place. [It's looking more like stupid as we learn more.]

Naturally he was taken aback by this most unusual request from the boys [and girls] in blue, in fact he was so shocked by this outrageous behaviour that he wrote to the Independent Police Conduct Authority to lay a complaint about what he considered the shocking and illogical approach and practice of the local police.

He saw this strange behaviour as simply a process of possible entrapment by collecting so-called dummy confessions’ under the guise of collecting specimens of peoples handwriting for investigative purposes. And I must admit I was inclined to agree with his point of view.

His letter of complaint to the IPCA brought a response and the local Police in the shape of a Detective Senior Sergeant was dispatched to talk about the complaint to see if he would be happy to accept the Police Departments explanations of its behaviour. He asked me to join him in this discussion and I willingly agreed. That took place on the 23rd of December 2014.

Around the middle of February my friend received a reply from the local area commander for the PN region. It was a very interesting letter firstly it states that the process of obtaining hand writing samples that the police take is not entrapment…in their view, they give no legal opinion. But the letter writer agrees that senior-management [police] will look at the process, to ensure that entrapment cannot occur…lastly the local commander gave an assurance the the process used was properly followed. He based that on what a police person wrote in his/her case notebook.[One assumes that what was recorded was correct and balanced, how does one check?]

Nowhere in the police reply did they concede that the language used was in the form of a confession…this of course was the main basis of my friend’s complaint. In fact they avoid reprinting exactly what was said during the interview by the two visiting police officers on the 8th of December 2014 other than to talk about the notebook entry.

The purpose of this blog is to seek feedback from those in the legal profession about the process used by the police…and to answer the more serious question about the police behaviour and that is “how can you seek a handwriting sample without somehow informing the person involved of why and on what grounds you selected him for this style of weird questioning used by the police and lastly could this evidence be used in a court of law.

So if you have an opinion please get in touch via my blog site or email me at wheeler@inspire.net.nz

The person involved has agreed to this blog being posted and has read the content before doing so..  

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