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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Complaint of unlawful search and seizure

On 2 December 2016, Police entered and conducted a search of Mr Z's house under section 14 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012. They believed that Mr Z had kidnapped Mr Y and was holding him against his will.

Mr Y was not found at Mr Z's house. However, during the Police search, items relating to drug use were found. Methamphetamine and a large amount of cash were also found in Mr Z's wallet. Mr Z was arrested and charged with possession with intent to supply a class A drug (the charge was later reduced to possession).

Mr Z complained that Police had no grounds to search his house and had inappropriately seized property and given it to Mr Y.

The Police investigated Mr Z's complaints and found that the entry and initial search of Mr Z's house were justified. Based on information provided to them, Police had reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Y was at the house. There were also significant concerns that there was a risk to Mr Y's life or safety.

Police had seized items labelled with Mr Y's name, together with items said to belong to Mr Y. These items were potential evidence and were taken with the consent of Mr Z's girlfriend, the other resident of the house. Police made reasonable efforts to establish ownership of the property and the items found to belong to Mr Y were later returned to him.

The Authority reviewed the Police investigation into Mr Z's complaints and agreed that both the search of Mr Z's house and seizure of Mr Y's property were justified in the circumstances.

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