Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Rape inquiry documents relate to different case

NZ Herald
February 10 2004
Rape inquiry documents relate to different case
by Phil Taylor

Documents provided by a former policeman to show he did a good job investigating pack-rape allegations against three policemen appear to relate to another case in which those men were not among the accused.

John Dewar, a former police inspector, is accused by Louise Nicholas of not properly handling her complaint of a pack rape to cover for the policemen, who were his colleagues.
He provided the Herald and TV3 with documents which he said showed he had done a good job investigating the matter and had been praised, including by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at the time, Sir John Jeffries.

The Herald believes the documents cannot and do not relate to the pack-rape allegations against Clint Rickards and former policemen Brad Shipton, a Tauranga District councillor, and Napier car salesman Bob Schollum. Mrs Nicholas alleges that incident occurred in a house in Rotorua owned at the time by the police department.

Herald inquiries indicate they relate to the police handling of a case alleging other police officers had committed sexual indecencies on a woman living in Murupara between 1980 and 1983.
The documents were dated between June 1994 and January 1995
the latter being the date on the letter written by Sir John in his capacity as the Police Complaints Authority.

But Judge Ian Borrin, who took over the PCA role from Sir John, confirmed to the Herald the PCA became aware of allegations of a pack rape in Rotorua by police using a baton only in May 1995, four months after the date on Sir John's letter.

Judge Borrin told the Herald he had checked the documents and "it seems to me the timeframe you have derived from the papers is accurate".

Asked whether that meant Sir John's letter - which said Mr Dewar's work was of a "very high standard" - could not relate to the Rotorua allegations, Judge Borrin said that appeared to be the case.

"The dates as you have worked them out seem to be correct but I think that any comment about that should be left to you."

Mr Dewar was quoted on 3 News on Sunday night as saying he stood by the professionalism of his inquiries into the Rotorua allegations and that the documents would prove he did not compromise the inquiry to protect his colleagues.

TV3 quoted Mr Dewar saying the Jeffries letter showed that although Mr Dewar personally believed Mrs Nicholas, his bosses had agreed there was not enough evidence to lay charges. Mr Dewar said this meant that if he was found to be incompetent, so were a lot of others.
Mr Dewar implied to the Herald another document - which says Mr Dewar "carried out a full inquiry" - related to the pack rape and baton incident. This document deals with allegations made about police based at Murupara.

The names of those accused were blanked out but Mr Dewar told the Herald they included Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton and Mr Schollum. Subsequent Herald inquiries indicate this complaint was about three other police and that neither Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton nor Mr Schollum was based at Murupara.

The Herald contacted Mr Dewar last night but the line went dead


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