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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Trespass and unlawful arrest by officers in Northland District

23 September 2020

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into allegations officers trespassed on the complainant's property, used OC spray against the complainant while trespassing, and-after leaving the property-subsequently returned with their supervising officer and unlawfully arrested the complainant for assaulting Police.

The Police investigation found that the officers who first visited the complainant were trespassing, as they failed to leave when the complainant made it clear that they were no longer welcome on his property.

Police found that the use of OC spray against the complainant was unlawful, because the officer was trespassing at the time; he should have left the property immediately instead of using force against the complainant.

The investigation also found that officers acted unlawfully when they later returned to the complainant's property and arrested him. The arrest was found to be unlawful because officers were trespassing when the alleged assault occurred, and were therefore not acting in the lawful execution of their duty at the time.

The actions and decision making of the officers involved were dealt with by way of a confidential employment process. The Authority agrees with the outcome of the Police investigation.

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