Sex case details littering highway

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013

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Hundreds of pages of documents from an investigation into an historic sex case have been found strewn along a Taranaki highway.

Police described the find, which included papers naming the victim in the case, as disturbing and potentially dangerous to the victim.

The documents, discovered by members of the public who alerted the Taranaki Daily News, turned out to be police disclosure, given to the defendant in the case.

The paperwork documented historical sex charges, from the 1980s, but only recently laid against a man, court charge sheets, his criminal history, police working papers, interview notes and a summary of facts.

A motorist discovered the papers scattered along SH3A, between Manutahi and Te Arei roads, on Sunday night.

Another member of the public handed some of the discarded papers into the Daily News office yesterday and staff also collected some of the documents.

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward said from experience disclosure often ended up in places that would be detrimental to police, defence lawyers and the public.

"There's an obligation on police to disclose to defence counsel material relating to their clients, if they are before the court.

"It's very disconcerting that a disclosed document could end up in the hands of the public and, in turn, the media.

"It could potentially put the victim at risk."

The Daily News visited the alleged offender's address, which was listed on the pages, yesterday but were told nobody by the name listed on the documents had ever lived there.

However, the paper was soon contacted by New Plymouth defence lawyer Susan Hughes, QC, requesting that the documents be returned.

Ms Hughes would not make any further comment about how the documents came to be littering the highway.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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