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Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct

CIPC: Transcripts of Hearings

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Commission of Inquiry appointed

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

    Hon Margaret Wilson
    Associate Minister of Justice
    16 February 2004
    Media Statement

    Commission of Inquiry appointed
    Prime Minister Helen Clark and Attorney-General Margaret Wilson today announced the names of the two Commissioners who will conduct the Commission of Inquiry into the recent allegations made against members of the Police with respect to sexual conduct and investigations of it.

    The Commissioners will be the Hon Bruce Robertson and Dame Margaret Bazley. Justice Robertson is a High Court Judge and chair of the New Zealand Law Commission. Dame Margaret has had a long and distinguished career in the public service, including as chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development and Secretary for Transport.

    Prime Minister Helen Clark said Justice Robertson and Dame Margaret were eminently qualified to lead a full and independent investigation into the way in which the Police had dealt with the allegations.

    Helen Clark said that a number of women had made complaints about sexual assaults by police officers, and the manner in which the Police handled those complaints.

    In particular, Louise Nicholas complained about sexual assaults made by members of the Police in Rotorua in 1983 and 1986. Another woman, Judith Garrett, has complained about sexual abuse by Police officers in Kaitaia in 1988. A former Rotorua teenager has claimed that a policeman lured her for sex at the same house where Louise Nicholas alleges she was raped by three police officers.

    "The terms of reference, which are still subject to final legal drafting, will give the Commission of Inquiry a mandate to inquire into police conduct and procedure when receiving and investigating allegations of sexual assault made against the Police.

    "The commission will also inquire into Police standards and codes in relation to Police personal behaviour, including sexual conduct.

    "While the commission will not be able to review the Police Complaints Authority's investigations of complaints because of secrecy provisions in the Authority's governing statute, it will be able to review the investigations carried out by Police which formed the basis for the Authority's report."

    Helen Clark said the Police hold a critical role in society in upholding law and order and it was absolutely vital that there was strong public confidence in and respect for the Police.

    "The public must be assured that the Police will thoroughly investigate any allegations of criminal behaviour by their own personnel. If the allegations that have been made indicate that there are systemic problems, they will be identified and dealt with.

    "The Commission of Inquiry will be asked to report to the Governor-General by 1 November 2004," Helen Clark said.

    Contact: Mike Munro 021 428 835, Deborah Diaz (Margaret Wilson's office) 021 864 811

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    Last updated: 17/02/2004