The police should be above the law. Well that’s the opinion of Judith Collins at least, in this piece from last week. It’s so mind boggling that I have to quote it at length:
Devil is in the detail for undercover cops in Red Devils case
Nelson police targeted the Red Devils gang in the undercover Operation Explorer, from September 2009 to March 2011. Explorer resulted in more than 150 charges, including drugs, firearms and conspiracy charges, being laid against 21 members and associates of the gang. That sounds like a great result to me.
But, the Crown recently dropped the case after Justice David Collins stayed a majority of the charges because, he says, evidence for them was ‘improperly’ obtained by police. Justice Collins ruled police probably broke the law when they forged that search warrant and prosecuted an undercover officer to bolster his credibility with the gang. He said the police’s actions amounted to “significant misconduct” and possible “serious criminal offending”.
Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess has said officers involved in the fake warrant and prosecution “were acting in the honest belief that their actions were lawful and necessary to protect the undercover officer”.
I couldn’t agree more with the police. It is simply outrageous that serious criminal offending by a dangerous gang be allowed to go unanswered. Their illegal firearms continue to be out on the streets, and these dangerous criminals continue to be a risk to families and communities. The gang must be laughing. The message is clear to criminal gangs. Let your new friend know you think they could be police, know that if they are, the operation will be closed down.
Justice Collins justified his decision saying that allowing the trials to continue, based on improperly obtained evidence, would undermine public confidence in the justice system. I think what undermines public confidence in the justice system is seeing serious and violent criminals set free, and police officers risking their lives or being killed in the line of duty for nothing.
In the same piece Phil Goff was quoted in reply:
We need to empower and resource our police to take effective action against organised crime. However, the police are subject to the rule of law. If the law is not effective change it. You had the chance, Judith. But don’t suggest that the police or anyone else should be able to act outside of it.
Good to see Jarrod Gilbert taking up the issue yesterday:
Jarrod Gilbert: Collins’ defence of police offending indefensible
So common is political foolishness that it has become barely remarkable. But wrong in principle and crooked in logic, Judith Collins’ effort last week was a special example.
In a newspaper column, Collins expressed outrage that charges relating to the Red Devils Motorcycle Club were dropped due to what Justice David Collins described as “serious misconduct” and possible “serious criminal offending” by police. She bristled at the suggestion that any action be taken against the offending police officers.
Judith Collins is of the view that police can break the law in performing their duties based on the rationale that their job is dangerous and important. She was defending, among other things, the police forging a court document.
Judith Collins’s view on this is frightful. A former justice minister should not need reminding that the integrity of the justice system is paramount. And that the police are not above the law.
Read on for plenty more.
Judith Collins should not be allowed anywhere near oversight of the justice system ever again.