- Date published:
11:23 am, June 27th, 2008 - 12 comments
Categories: act, crime - Tags:
ACT is turning to increasingly desperate attempts to win media attention. Raising Roger Douglas from the dead didn’t work (he only got 6 people to come to his latest speech). Now, Heather Roy has named a police informant in Parliament. This pathetic attempt to raise a petty scandal has put the life of the informant in danger and will have a chilling effect on future potential informants. The issue of whether the Police protected the informant when they shouldn’t have ought to have been handled through a non-public inquiry, not Roy’s dangerous grandstanding.
The end result will be to discourage informants, making the Police’s job harder and resulting in more criminals staying free. Good one, Heather.
That’s rubbish Steve – what about the young woman who lost her life as a result of this guy driving drunk and dangerously? Does her life, and the lives affected by her death count for nothing?
“Does her life, and the lives affected by her death count for nothing?”
That’s so beautiful.
His lawyer and probation officer, a senior Corrections Department official and police national headquarters all knew he was using a different name, but kept quiet.
I wonder if they will be up for contempt of court?
Inv2. You know that’s not what I’m saying.
I’m saying Roy shouldn’t have made a public song and dance about this. The issue of whether the Police protected the informant when they shouldn’t have ought to have been handled through a non-public inquiry that would not have exposed the informant and createed a chilling effect for future informants.
Nome, Apart from the “informant” thing, whats the difference between this guy and Lipene Sila?
As for Roy outing this guy, who’s to say that this is not an exceptional case that warrents public scrutiny? Why should this affect other informants?
Captcha: ork chess. I wonder what orks use for pieces?
Steveo, This case is like no other. I agree Roy is granstanding however there is some justification for this. Judging by the TV pics, I don’t think he will be informing for too much longer anyway.
Police informants are the lowest of the low. They commit the same crimes as their peers (as Brownie says, there’s no difference between the person named by Roy and Lipene Sala) and then betray those same peers in order to enjoy an easy ride – sometimes even a blind eye to their criminality – from the Police.
I’m dealing with a case at present where a witness is clearly a drug dealer of significant volumes; cars are pulling in and out of his driveway constantly; he has no job but enjoys a relatively lavish lifestyle, and so on. However it’s impossible to attack his credibility as he has not one single conviction.
Clearly he is either: a) a Police informant or b) has Police on the payroll or c) probably both.
There are times when the use of informants can be justified – when one criminal might be allowed a reduction in their term if they provide specific information about a specific crime.
But the practice of Police providing an ongoing shield for a stable of informants is certainly something that needs review. And that review needs to be open and transparent.
It’s perhaps unfortunate Heather Roy had to name one informant to draw attention to the issue but let’s not forget: in order to become an informant (as opposed to a witness) you have to be a criminal in the first place.
Yes, Rex. The NZ Police use informants for shits and giggles, and not because they often provide information that would otherwise never reach the light of day. Also, only turning informants once they’re already in jail on specific charges is totally the way to gain accurate and up-to-date information. Honest.
And, of course, the hilarious assumption that “informants” are automatically regulars of the Mos Eisley Cantina – that’s “scum and villains” for you non-geeks – is brilliant and totally not classist.
Well QoT, to deal with your 2nd point 1st, that Oracle so beloved of certain leftie commenters, Wikipedia, defines an informant as:
…someone existing inside a closed system who provides information of that system to a figure or organization who exist outside of that system. Most notably these organizations include law enforcement agencies…
That is to say, some existing inside, say, the criminal underworld and thus indeed “scum and villains”. But most people use the term in that way, as I’m sure you knew before you carefully crafted your straw man. I probably comment more on criminal justice issues than on every other topic combined and I think you’ll find I’m very much of a liberal “alternatives to prison”, “longer sentences are not the answer” etc etc persuasion.
But I also have an insight into the way the NZ Police work and how, amongst other things, they’ll get an informant to lie in order to gain a conviction. I’ve had exactly that done to me (thankfully I had a cast iron alibi). Not “shit and giggles” perhaps, but revenge certainly. Or, as they told one witness when he pointed out that he’d been present and took an active part in my supposed “crimes” – and thus was surely guilty if I was – “he might not have done this, but he’s got it coming”.
So do tell me again how my perspective comes from a position of snobbery, QoT, specially when I currently devote around 30 hours a week doing pro bono legal preparatory work for people caughgt up in the criminal justice system – often due to lies suborned from informers by Police.
Rex, any time you’re willing to a) use the phrase “criminal underworld” as a blanket term and b) categorize all people living in that “underworld” as “scum” … damn straight you’re speaking from a position of snobbery, and I don’t care if Some Of Your Best Friends Are Darkies.
Because you’ve just decided that anyone with a criminal conviction isn’t part of Society. Because you’ve just judged a huge range of people whose motivations and backgrounds and prospects you know NOTHING about as Inherently Bad.
You’ve known bad cops? Good for you. You’ve had some bad experiences? That’s nice. Do these things give you some special expertise in the matters of Police Are Treacherous Wankers and Informants Deserve To Be Put At Risk By Attention-Seeking Politicians? Do you honestly think your “insight” is so much better than mine just because I regard playing the I Haz Better Credentials card as the surest sign of not having a leg to stand on?
And seriously, WIKIPEDIA?
My experience of police informants has left me with no doubt that they are bigger scroats than the people they narc on.
QoT: No, I draw a distinction between the majority of those with a criminal conviction and who are perfectly decent people (and yes, some of my best friends are convicts, as it happens. In fact the other day I realised everyone I currently call a close friend has been to jail at some point) and those who usually end up as informants.
Such people, to be of much use to police, generally have to be career criminals of a particularly unpleasant kind. You’ll find the police don’t usually cultivate informants amongst bicycle thieves or taggers or shoplifting pensioners but amongst drug dealers, armed robbers and the like who are indeed, in my book, scum.
As is “a former P addict, was on parole when, drunk and speeding, he crashed into the car” killing a 20 year old woman. No matter what his “value” as a rat.
And having had repeated dealings with Police – I don’t characterise them as “bad” Police because they’re actually pretty typical in my experience – does give me some better insight into their operations, yes.
Better than who? Well better than anyone who’s been lucky enough to avoid much contact with the Police beyond the odd speeding ticket. But a lot less than people who’ve had the misfortune to have been dragged much deeper into the criminal justice system than was I. But I’ve been informed by many conversations with such people both in and outside prison.
The relationship between Police and informants is more often than not inappropriate and such benefit as may be obtained from information is more than offset by the criminality in which said informants are permitted to indulge and the way they are misused to attempt to convict the innocent.
As I said it’s debateable whether Heather Roy’s action was justified as, regardless of this man’s character, he was given an undertaking of anonymity which should have been honoured. But such is the corruption of the “informant” system that any call for a public inquiry is to be welcomed.
Perhaps one day you’ll have the “nice” experience of finding the entire weight of Police, prosecutors and courts ranged against you while your reputation, liberty and relationships with everyone whom you care about are on the line. It tends to have the effect of discouraging flippancy about such issues. I don’t wish it on you, as it’s a horrific experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.