On the night of 22 May 2017 a Police officer was at home with his wife in Taranaki when an argument broke out over child care arrangements. The argument became more heated and led to the officer’s wife throwing a cell-phone at her husband, hitting him on the shoulder. The officer reacted by throwing the phone back at his wife as she was leaving the room. The cell-phone missed his wife and struck a wall.
The officer then approached his wife. Fearing an assault, the officer’s wife ‘batted him away’ with open hands to keep him away from her. At this point the officer struck his wife once in the face, knocking her to the ground.
The officer’s wife then retreated to a bathroom, locked herself in and called Police to report the assault. The officer left the house and arranged to speak to Police from another location.
The officer was arrested that night and charged with assault. Police conducted both criminal and employment investigations into the matter and these were reviewed by the Authority.
The officer pleaded guilty to a charge of male assaults female. He was discharged without conviction and given name suppression, but was required to pay a sum to his wife as reparation for emotional harm.
The employment investigation found that the officer had committed an assault on his wife and that his actions amounted to serious misconduct under the Police Code of Conduct. The officer was dismissed from his employment with the Police.
The IPCA agreed with the outcomes of the Police investigations and upheld the determination that the incident was a breach of the Police Code of Conduct.