Serious police misconduct in an investigation of Nelson's Red Devils motorcycle club should not stop charges going ahead for 20 people, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
In a decision issued today the court said the misconduct - faking a search warrant and having an undercover police officer charged and appear in court under a false name - was very serious but there was only a weak link between the misconduct and the intended trial.
The charging of the undercover officer had been an attempt to bolster his credibility with the club's associates when he came under suspicion.
A judge in the High Court said it was so serious that the correct thing was to stop the trial going ahead for the 20 accused but the Court of Appeal overturned that decision.
The court said it had to balance the public interest in ensuring that the court's processes were not abused in having a trial continue despite the police misconduct, and the public interest in having serious criminal charges decided on their merits.
Originally 21 people were charged with 151 offences out of Operation Explorer, targeting the Red Devils.
The charges include taking part in an organised criminal group, supplying methamphetamine and conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm.
One person pleaded guilty.
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