Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dewar loses grievance case

The Dominion Post
July 19 2005
Dewar loses grievance case

A former detective accused of covering up Louise Nicholas' allegations against police officers has been ordered to pay $9300 after losing a personal grievance case.

Former Rotorua CIB police chief John Dewar was accused by Mrs Nicholas last year of covering up her complaints against Clint Rickards, Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton in the 1980s. The trio have since been charged in relation to the Rotorua woman's allegations, which they deny. The precise nature of the charges is suppressed.

Mr Dewar has been charged with four counts of obstructing the course of justice.
When Mrs Nicholas' allegation were revealed in The Dominion Post last year, Mr Dewar was working as the human resources manager for the Hamilton-based St John Midland ambulance service. Mr Dewar and the service's chief executive Eddie Jackson agreed that he should take special leave on full pay till a commission of inquiry into police conduct, which arose from Mrs Nicholas' claims, was completed.

Though the leave was consensual, Mr Dewar later complained to the Employment Relations Authority over matters relating to the loss of his own employment records and workplace restrictions imposed.

Mr Dewar said he had taken reasonable and practicable steps to resolve his employment problem internally with St John Midland.

When he felt legal action was inevitable he confined his case to a day- and-a-half presentation but a "Rolls- Royce" legal representation by his employers had sent their legal costs soaring.
St John Midland's lawyer, Peter Churchman, said a Wellington law firm was hired because Mr Dewar had already engaged the law firm usually used by the ambulance service. Mr Churchman argued that the level of legal representation had also contained costs and noted that Mr Dewar continued to receive his salary of around $100,000 a year.

Mr Dewar appealed to the authority, when deciding costs, to consider that he had a young family and was already in some debt as a result of legal bills associated with the commission of inquiry and separate criminal proceedings over he and his wife failing to keep their dog under control.
Authority member Yvonne Oldfield said Mr Dewar "does not face any particular hardship" and was in a position to make an informed choice about proceeding with his claims.

But she said St John Midland's original claim of $23,500 was "extreme" for this particular investigation, ruling that two-thirds of that claim was more appropriate. Mr Dewar was ordered to pay costs of $8000 and disbursements of $1332.