Man awarded costs after police case fails

A former Pareora man has been awarded costs after police failed to show he had a case to answer.

On November 23 last year, Allan William Workman, 50, successfully defended a charge of threatening behaviour which arose out of an ongoing feud with a neighbour.

The victim alleged he ran out of his property in Pareora on March 8 and into the middle of the street with what appeared to be an object in his hand. He motioned as if he was going to throw it as she drove past.

Judge Joanna Maze found she had no evidence which would allow her to conclude that that was a threat to cause actual bodily harm.

"The gesture in itself is not inherently a threat to injure and there is no supporting evidence of any kind which would allow me to draw the inference that it was a threat to injure. In those circumstances there is no case to answer."

At the hearing, Judge Maze recommended the neighbours found other ways of resolving their personality clashes.

Workman then made an application to cover his legal costs of $1587, which were awarded by Judge Maze in her decision, released on June 13.

Workman's counsel made it plain that if the police proceeded and failed, costs would be sought. Workman argued the police had not acted in good faith as they had already been told they had no case. The police opposed the cost application, saying they followed proper processes and there was "concerning behaviour which warranted a charge," and that Workman demonstrated "inappropriate" behaviour.

Judge Maze rejected the allegation Workman had engaged in "inappropriate behaviour."

"It seems clear the police failed to apply properly the Solicitor-General's guidelines to the evidence they intended to call; had they done so it would have been clear they lacked any evidence of an element of the alleged offence.

"Mr Workman should never have been put in a position of having to prove himself not guilty of the offence."

The Timaru Herald