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    Family Integrity #493 — Correction to media reports of police response to assault charge being petty and ridiculous [NZ Police News]

    By HEF Admin | December 4, 2009

    Family Integrity #493 —  Correction to media reports of police response to assault charge being petty and ridiculous [NZ Police News]

    Well, now I know, again, what it feels like to shoot my mouth off before I know all the facts.

    The pillow fight wasn’t exactly as we usually picture a “pillow fight”.

    Embarrassingly,

    Craig  Smith

    Correction to media reports of police response to assault charge being petty and ridiculous [NZ Police News]

    A new news release is available for you to view on the Police website:

    Title: Correction to media reports of police response to assault charge being petty and ridiculous

    A media report last night stated Police were petty and ridiculous in charging a man with throwing a cushion at a child.

    Police were called to a family violence incident involving Mr Taylor on New Years Eve last year. Police were told Mr Taylor had assaulted a seven year old child, was intoxicated and refusing to leave the address. Occupants of the house were frightened of him and were found outside by Police on arrival.

    Mr Taylor has a long history of alcohol, drug abuse and family violence which was a factor in laying the charge.

    An assault had taken place on a child who was not involved in the original dispute which was between the Mother and Mr Taylor. Taylor refused to leave the address and left Police with no option but resolve the matter by arresting him.

    The charges initially laid by police were legally correct. An alleged assault had been committed on a child.  On the information provided by the complainant and witnesses present, the assault was neither trifling nor trivial.  The child had made a complaint that the assault had caused him pain, and redness to his forehead, that he has been whacked.

    The defence counsel elected trial by jury and made no attempt to negotiate a lesser charge as indicated by the Judge.

    The charge was later independently reviewed by the Crown Solicitor after Mr Taylor was committed for trial. The Crown laid an indictment for the same charge.

    The Judges decision to discharge the matter under Crimes Act 1961 s.347(2) was available in the circumstances.  However, Police would point out it was the defence tactic to take a relatively minor case to trial where it could have been concluded in the summary jurisdiction.  The case was laid in the summary jurisdiction and would have been disposed of as the Judge had suggested should have happened, had there not been an election of trial by the defence.  In addition, the application under s347 could have been made by the defence at any point prior to the hearing.  The application was brought by the Judge on the day of trial.

    The matter was a family violence incident and was therefore not relevant to section 59 of the Crimes Act (1961).

    The arrest and charge of Taylor was justifiable and in keeping with Police policy on family violence.

    The presiding judge in open court listed Mr Taylor’s extensive conviction list of family violence offending which is now a matter of public record.

    The judge stated that the presence of previous convictions of the accused ought to be a matter of public record, because he considered those when reaching his decision, he declined to suppress those details.

    Mr Taylor has in excess of 70 convictions including extensive family violence, male assaults female, threatens to kill, kidnapping, aggravated robbery (firearms) among others.

    The TVNZ report stated police were petty and ridiculous. This comment was not made by the presiding Judge who did not criticise the police laying a charge in respect of this case.  Rather, the Judge formed the view that the case could have been resolved with a lesser, included charge, which was unavailable to the Crown due to the election of the defence of a trial by jury.

    Please attribute this to Wellington District Commander Gail Gibson.
    There will be no further comment from Police on this issue.

    Please view the full news release online at:

    http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/21707.html

    Thanks,
    New Zealand Police

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