Hunter accused of poaching wins reprieve from police
A man accused of poaching told police he would "rather be taken to court" than accept a warning from them.
It had been a "rough five months" for East Otago man Jason Patterson after he was issued with a formal warning and four trespass notices following an incident near Hampden in late 2016.
The incident had impacted on his standing in the community as the "word is I'm a poacher", he said.
"This alone has affected my credibility."
The incident arose after Patterson and four other members of a hunting party, who were on quad bikes, were stopped by a police officer on a paper road "in the middle of nowhere" on December 2.
The officer "started to give me my Bill of Rights", after an allegation from a local resident that the group was trespassing, Patterson said.
He alleged the party had been given permission to use the road for the purpose of hunting.
Patterson claimed things soon escalated, with the police officer threatening "to have me trespassed anywhere he could".
He wrote to Police Commissioner Mike Bush on February 22, saying he did "not accept this warning".
"I would rather be taken to court and have the opportunity to have fair process which I have not had from police," he wrote.
In a May 17 letter, police confirmed an independent review of Patterson's complaint resulted in the officer's formal warning for unlawful hunting being withdrawn.
The four trespass notices remained though.
Patterson alleged the officer had a grudge against him, and had previously accused him of stealing a police notebook that had been left on his property.
Despite his previous encounters with the law, Patterson was pleased the investigating officer dealt with his complaint in a "fair manner".
He praised the assistance he received from the New Zealand Police Conduct Association.