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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Paul Tainui released at Police checkpoint before going on to kill Nicole Tuxford

22 October 2020

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that it was reasonable for an officer to not arrest or detain life parolee Paul Tainui at a checkpoint when he was found to be drink driving and to have knives in his car, on the night before he killed Ms Tuxford.

On the evening of 6 April 2018, Mr Tainui was stopped at a Police drink drive checkpoint in Christchurch, where he was found to be over the legal alcohol limit. The officer checked Mr Tainui's details in the Police database which noted only that he had been convicted of murder in 1996. He processed Mr Tainui for drink driving and summonsed him to appear in court. Mr Tainui was forbidden to drive for 12 hours and his car keys were confiscated. The officer's decision to summons rather than arrest Mr Tainui for his drink driving offence was in keeping with standard Police practice.

When Mr Tainui volunteered to the officer he had knives in his car, the officer accepted his reason for having them and requested he leave them in his locked car boot, which he did. Mr Tainui then left on foot. The officer was justified in not detaining or arresting Mr Tainui once he knew Mr Tainui had knives in his car, as he believed Mr Tainui's explanation for having them in his possession was reasonable.

At the time, Police did not have adequate mechanisms or training in place to identify when a parolee needed to be arrested and urgent consideration given to an application for their recall to prison. Police have since worked with the Department of Corrections to ensure a better system is in place.

"The Authority accepts the officer's assessment of the situation was reasonable as was his decision making. There were no clear processes in place at the time for him to follow in respect of parolees and nothing in the law to require that life parolees be arrested when suspected of committing an imprisonable offence," said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.
Public Report

Paul Tainui released at Police checkpoint (PDF 468 KB)
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