Ex-police officer fined over assault

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 14:31 31/01/2013

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Alcohol played a large part in what a judge called "a dreadful fall from grace" for a young police officer convicted of assault.

Judge Russell Callander made the comment while convicting Mikayla Paul in the Napier District Court yesterday.

Paul's lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, said Paul, 23, entered the police force straight from school in 2008, and had intended to be an officer for life.

A charge of assault was found proved in a defended hearing on December 20. She resigned four days later, meaning there was no need for an internal investigation.

Yesterday Mr Krebs abandoned an earlier application for a discharge without conviction.

He said Paul intended to move to Australia

Her victim, Lisa O'Connor, was in the women's toilets of the Napier Marist Old Boys clubrooms on the night of June 2 last year when she heard women speaking angrily in the disabled toilet cubicle. They were talking about "smacking someone over the head".

She also heard them snorting something and waited outside the cubicle to confront them. She said they became aggressive, denied snorting drugs and told her that, if she said anything to anyone, they would smash her.

Yesterday Mr Krebs said Paul "intended to begin again" in Australia.

"She's had a few weeks now to reflect that her behaviour on the night in question has cost her her career. That in itself is an enormous penalty."

He said it was fortunate she was at a stage of life where she was able to start again. She wanted as much as possible of any fine to be paid to her victim.

Mr Krebs said she felt alcohol played a significant part in her actions that night. She denied accusations that she had taken illicit substances.

Judge Callander fined Paul $500, with $300 of that to be paid to Ms O'Connor, with $250 to be paid for witness costs and $132 in court costs.

Paul had two previous convictions while in the police force. In February 2010 she was disqualified from driving after admitting careless driving. In November the same year she was sentenced to 60 hours' community work after admitting driving outside the limits of a limited licence.

Contact Marty Sharpe

Hawke's Bay reporter
Email: marty.sharpe@dompost.co.nz

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