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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegation of off-duty assault on intoxicated man not upheld

27 September 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into an allegation that an off-duty officer assaulted an intoxicated guest at a birthday party.

Police initiated a criminal investigation and found the alleged assault had been committed by another guest who intervened in a verbal argument between the officer and the complainant when he believed the officer was about to be assaulted. The third party grabbed the complainant from behind and both fell down a set of steps which caused the complainant's injuries.

Police found just prior to this altercation; the officer attempted to remove the complainant from the venue under a mistaken belief he had been trespassed due to his intoxicated behaviour. Police considered whether any criminal liability arose from this and determined although the officer actions were unlawful, he acted believing he was doing so in accordance with the law, and the force that he used to remove the complainant was not serious enough to justify a criminal charge. Police did not consider the officer's overall behaviour constituted misconduct.

The Authority agreed with the findings of the Police investigation and considered the decision not to charge appeared reasonable in the circumstances.

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