Roast Busters review nears completion

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 05:00 17/04/2014

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An independent investigation into police handling of the Roast Busters case is nearly finished.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has interviewed 11 police staff as well as members of the public and a spokesperson says the review is in its "final stages".

The Roast Busters were a group of West Auckland teenagers whose videos of them bragging about having sex with underage girls came to the nation's attention late last year.

Police handling of the case also gained notoriety after a series of contradictory statements which initially claimed that despite a "full and thorough" investigation prosecution wasn't possible in the absence of a formal complaint from a victim.

It later emerged a 13-year-old had made one in 2011.

The girl alleged that during the complaint process she was asked what clothing she had been wearing and whether she'd been drinking with the offenders.

Police Minister Anne Tolley ordered a review into police handling of the case in November, requesting it look into the way the interview with the victim was conducted and whether the decision not to lay charges at the time was appropriate.

The report won't be released until police finish their own criminal investigation but the authority is considering producing another into how police handled the media inquiries.

Police say they have a dedicated team of detectives specialised in dealing with sexual assault investigations who are still working full-time on what they call Operation Clover.

Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus says further comment won't be made while the investigation continues.

"While we appreciate the high level of public interest, we reiterate that this is a victim focused investigation that involves a number of young people, and their needs remain our main priority.

"The 0800 OP CLOVER dedicated phoneline remains open for anyone who would like to speak to the inquiry team, and we continue to encourage people to make contact with the team if they wish to, by phoning the 0800 number," Malthus says.

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