Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bite the bullet and get back to work solving real crime.

Anne Hunt reports on the never-ending battle to win in the Horowhenua Lake Rowing Club / Mayoral propped up Domain Board / Horowhenua Police harassment programme nightmare. 

Read for yourself the plea by Alastair Thompson to get the dogmatic and blind attitude of the Police to accept the findings of the various courts etc who have found against the police.

It is this kind of childlike temper displayed by the police that must make us question their understanding of the law. They are like a naughty child throwing a tantrum when told that they cant get their own way... You would think or at least hope that the police can concede when they have been proven wrong over and over. 

They should pull the dummy from their mouths and as the saying goes bite the bullet and get back to work solving real crime rather than cow-towering to the local Mayor and a bunch of cronies. Here is her message... 
I liked your latest column so sorry for the belated response.
Been down in the Wellington High Court appealing what should have been the last criminal matter.
Then lo and behold, the police file an appeal of Phil’s acquittal on the trespass charge.
Fortunately I had written to Kelvin Davis some time beforehand, and he sent me a copy of the letter that he had received from Sarah Stewart (police area commander) after she had received the Moss judgement, but before crown Law appealed the acquittal on behalf of the police.
I should mention that Duffy is on the Lake Domain Board.

From: [] On Behalf Of Alastair Thompson
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 9:06 AM
To:; HAUMAHA, Wallace <>;;;;; Metiria Turei <>;;
Cc: PANAPA, Wayne (Wayne Ingoa) <>; Grant Nicholls <>; MCMAHON, Teresa <>; Phil Taueki <>; Anne Hunt <>; Mihingarangi Forbes <>; David Fisher <>; Steven Price <>;; Corin Dann <>; Karl du Fresne <>; Gordon Campbell <>
Subject: Re: Appealing an acquittal!

Dear Chis Finlayson, Judith Collins, Te-Ururoa Flavell, Mike Bush, Wallace Haumaha & Sarah Stewart,

The attached letter from Manawatu Police Area Commander Sarah Stewart's - sent to me by Anne Hunt in Horowhenua -  is Kafkasque, groundhog day on steroids.

After a decade of harassment from the Police, and after yet another judge declares that the legal basis being used by the Police to protect the rowers in the Lake Horowhenua domain is fatally flawed,  rather than accepting the decision and enforcing the rule of law the police have instructed the crown to appeal an acquittal on a trespass charge.

The letter indicates that the police's legal basis for seeking that appeal is grounds which have  been canvassed in numerous court decisions up to the Court of Appeal and have been clearly decided, against the police and the Levin rowers.

Mike this yet another police contravention of the law?
Wallace and Sarah, you are both sworn to uphold the rule of law. 

Mike,  it is your job to supervise your police force to ensure that they comply with this prime directive. They are not free to choose which bits of law apply to them.

For reasons unknown over a period of more than a decade I have watched as this dispute at the Lake Horowhenua has been treated by the police as a place where the law of NZ simply does not apply.

Last year I wrote to Sarah and Wallace and seeking the attention of police national office on this matter. 

During the period of our correspondence Anne Hunt's home was invaded the night before she was due to give evidence in a police arranged urgent hearing of the Waitangi Tribunal into matters related to the Lake Horowhenua Domain. It was on the face of it a serious case of intimidation of a witness. And yet the police appeared to be unconcerned about the matter. 

In my letters I asked Wallace and Sarah, or the police communications team, to provide a legal explanation for the Police's efforts to continue to defend the rights of occupation of the rowing club in the building  in the Lake Horowhenua Domain.

In response to these questions no response was ever received. 

Sarah's letter (attached) conclusively shows that the justification that police appear to have relied on for the last few years - but have not advanced to any court -  is simply wrong. Either that or this letter is grossly misleading about the real reasons for police actions. 

The issue of the rowing clubs continued occupancy of this disputed building has been considered in multiple court cases. It has been held to have no basis in law. And yet the police are continuing to act on trespass complaints issued by the rowers - which is the issue in this latest case on a very minor charge which they are now appealing - presumably at considerable cost. 

The police force administer the law. They do not make it. They are bound by decisions of the courts.

The Court of Appeal has declared the Rowing Club's tenancy to be at an end. The building and the land belong to the owners of the lake. 

The Domain Board does not have the power to grant a lease. It cannot have the power to authorise the occupation of a building which does not belong to them by some other means - which is what the Manuawatu District Commander is asserting in her letter. If the police believed this was the case - why did they not appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal?

The acquittal decision which is being appealed is based on several legal arguments the simplest of which is that notice of trespass needs to be issued by someone with authority to issue it. The Rowing Club does not have that authority. The notice was held defective. This is not complicated. The complex issues in this case have already been addressed - by one of the highest courts in this country. 

Why are the police and the crown intervening in what is clearly a civil matter at massive cost? 

Surely if the Rowing Club wants to continue to occupy a building that the Court of Appeal has held they have no right to occupy - then they should hire a lawyer and seek leave to appeal the decision. How is this a police matter?

I have addressed this email to the Solicitor General, the Minister of Police  and the Minister of Maori Affairs because the actions of the police in this case over a period of years have shown they are unable to address it internally. Superintendant Haumaha clearly tried to do so last year and failed.

Anne Hunt and Phil Taueki have experienced a serious case of abuse by police. 

I have addressed this also to the opposition, because in the absence of swift Govt action, it is past time for Parliament to take an interest in this case. The historical significance of Lake Horowhenua his enormous, the massacre of Phil Taueki's tribe was an act of revenge promised by Te Rauparaha in his Haka made famous by the All Blacks.

I have copied it to several senior media colleagues who I know have followed this case fairly closely because Levin remains an invisible backwater for the NZ media. Media attention on this case in the past has helped a little. But as soon as the spotlight moves the Levin Police return to form. I do not think the news media are able to resolve these issues either. 

New Zealand is not a banana republic. 

It is completely unacceptable that Anne Hunt and Phil Taueki have had to fight court case after court case after court case over more than a decade - all of which they have won, sometimes on their own and sometimes with the assistance of generous senior legal counsel Steven Price and Tom Bennion.

I have copied this email to Steven because if the people in positions of high responsibility who are addressed on this email - or their staff - or the media want to find out the legal facts they do not have to rely simply on the word of Anne Hunt or myself.  Steven has a clear understanding of this case, he has represented Phil in several cases and may be willing to answer factual questions on the legal matters involved. That said Anne Hunt and Phil Taueki wil probably need to authorise him to do so. 

Kind regards
Alastair Thompson

On Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 8:23 PM, Anne Hunt <> wrote:
Out of courtesy to you, I believe you should be aware that the NZ Police Force has appealed Phil Taueki’s acquittal on the trespass charge.
We could not figure out the reason for this, until a politician sent us a copy of the attached letter received from Inspector Sarah Stewart – after Judge Moss had delivered her decision but before the appeal was filed on behalf of the Police by its counsel, the Crown Law Office.
I am not asking for any assistance with this, because I covered the subject of autrefois acquit in my book on a case Dr David Collins QC took to the Privy Council, have  monitored legislative amendments since then, and have the judgements, legal submissions and paper trial necessary to counter any claims the Crown might make.
Prior to the original trial, a lawyer confided that the prosecutor knew there was no case to answer but had been subjected to pressure to proceed.
Presumably that same pressure has led to this absurd appeal!
I am looking forward to filing our response as soon as we receive the Crown’s submission.
Anne Hunt

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