A police officer acquitted of corruption and bribery will have to face an internal investigation before being allowed to return to work.
There were cries of joy and relief from the public gallery as a jury of seven women and five men found Constable Hayden Clifford Bradley, 30, of Whanganui, not guilty of offering to let a 27-year-old woman get away with driving while disqualified in return for engaging in "R18" acts with him.
Mr Bradley denied the charge of corruption and bribery of a law enforcement officer.
The jury returned to the High Court in New Plymouth with its unanimous verdict a little more than two hours after it retired yesterday afternoon.
Police Association central district regional director Emmet Lynch said it had been a good result for Mr Bradley, but his ordeal was not yet over.
"He will have to face an internal investigation which is part of an internal process which will make a decision in due course if he will be reinstated."
He said Mr Bradley and his family had been advised not to speak to the media in order not to compromise that process but, shortly after the trial, family members told the Taranaki Daily News Mr Bradley was "awesome" and it was a huge relief to see him acquitted.
Mr Bradley would be spending last night in New Plymouth with his wife and two young children, Mr Lynch said.
The constable has been suspended from the police on full pay since February last year.
The Crown's case was that Mr Bradley suggested to the female disqualified driver he would let her off in return for "R18" favours.
Yesterday, the Crown presented the last two of its 15 witnesses, and Mr Bradley's lawyer, Susan Hughes, QC, said the defence elected to neither call nor give evidence.
Ms Hughes told the jury there was no connection between Bradley's decision to let her off the charge and their discussion of sexual favours.
She said there had been "sexual banter, innuendo, that kind of thing" but it was not connected to the decision not to prosecute the woman.
"Stupid, yes; immoral, yes; criminal, no."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Pals and playmates (pictures)
Reacting to a sudden cancellation
New Zealand's best deck built yesterday
Appreciating Tony Allen
The meaning of blogging