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False accuser loses appeal

Last updated 15:38 12/12/2013

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A man who falsely claimed he was sexually violated and assaulted by police has been unsuccessful in an appeal against his sentence.

Andrew Neilson was convicted of three counts of wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice in Tauranga District Court.

In August he was sentenced to two years, two months jail.

In a decision released today, the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against the sentence.

On New Year's Day in 2011, Neilson was arrested and charged with possession of an offensive weapon, resisting arrest and assaulting the police.

On arrival at the police station, he alleged the arresting officers had sexually violated him with ''a torch, pen or finger" while he was being transported.

A doctor was called to the station to carry out a visual examination but detected no bleeding or bruising. He noted a two centimetre abrasion on Neilson's forehead.

However, Neilson continued to make allegations that the police had assaulted and sexually violated him.

After he was bailed, Neilson faked an abrasion on his forehead, cuts to both ears, and showed blood coming out of each ear.

He claimed these injuries were inflicted on him by police at the time of his arrest.

Police initiated an investigation into the complaint. Neilson claimed police had rammed his head into the road tarseal and the side of the police car.

He maintained the alleged sexual violation happened through his clothing while in the police car, but said his lower clothing was later pulled down by officers so he was in a state of undress when he arrived at the police station.

He claimed he had put his hands down his pants and found them covered in blood.

A full police investigation began and more than 30 civilian witnesses and police staff were formally interviewed.

An inquiry instituted by the Independent Police Conduct Authority lasted approximately five months.

In their decision, the Court of Appeal said Neilson's offending involved "serious and unfounded allegations of misconduct by police officers carrying out their duties".

The three police officers involved had filed victim impact statements and were all deeply affected by the investigation.

One of the officers suffered from blood cancer, and the trial had put his immune system under great stress.

Police were particularly vulnerable to false allegations, and that had been an aggravating factor, the court said.

"There was a need to hold the offender accountable for the harm done to the victims and the community by the offending," the court ruled.

"Such conduct must be denounced, and offenders deterred from committing the same or similar offences."

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- Fairfax Media

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