A man once accused of being involved in underage sex may receive a second payout for damages from police after they revealed the allegations to a future employer and the Accident Compensation Corporation, causing him to lose work and accreditation.
The man, who is referred to as EFG because of a court order granting name suppression, has brought proceedings against police complaining they breached his privacy by revealing he had been accused of committing sexual acts on a minor when he lived at Centrepoint – a commune where the "removal of one's sexual limits" was encouraged.
Indecent assault charges were laid against EFG but he was later discharged at a High Court trial.
In 2002, EFG applied for a job with a counselling organisation and allowed police to disclose information about him to the organisation.
The police told the organisation that EFG had been accused of using a vibrator on two 8-year-old girls when he was living at Centrepoint. EFG then complained to the Human Rights Review Tribunal that the information police handed over was unbalanced, failed to record his denial of the claims, and failed to explain what happened at the trial, and the reasons for his discharge.
In 2006 the tribunal ruled largely in EFG's favour, ordering the police to pay $12,500 damages and restraining the police from disclosing the information in future.
But before that decision, EFG applied in 2005 to ACC for accreditation to provide pain management and sexual abuse counselling services to ACC clients.
Police once more made the same disclosures.
ACC then declined accreditation.
EFG again complained to the tribunal and the case is still ongoing. The commissioner of police has applied for the proceedings to be thrown out because EFG's grievances have been heard and he has been compensated.
The tribunal disagreed, ruling EFG is able to receive more damages from the police if he can prove he suffered economic loss when the police gave information to ACC. But it ruled EFG could not get more damages for humiliation, loss of dignity and hurt feelings because he was already compensated for this at the first case.
A police spokesman said it cannot comment on EFG's case as it is still before the tribunal. But he said the police provide vetting for approved organisations who are responsible for providing care to children, older people and more vulnerable members of society.
The vetting is done subject to the Privacy Act, and people must approve the release of information. "Where vetting indicates information is held about behaviour that would impact adversely on vulnerable people (such as behaviour of a violent or sexual nature) which is not shown on an individual's criminal record, police may release minimal relevant information about that behaviour."
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