Man told to accept he is not in police
A former policeman who pulled a car over and produced his ID badge from 1991 has been told by a judge he needs to accept he is no longer a sworn police officer.
Adrian John Van Der Eik, 54, of St Andrews, pleaded guilty in the Timaru District Court yesterday to impersonating a police officer.
The court was told that on February 10 this year Van Der Eik was travelling south to Oamaru. He noticed a car travelling erratically so he activated red and blue lights he had in his car and pulled the vehicle over.
He produced his police ID badge from 1991 but said he was not highway patrol and would not issue a ticket. The car carried on to Oamaru, where the occupants learnt Van Der Eik was not a police officer.
In his submissions, Van Der Eik outlined how was discharged from service with post-traumatic stress disorder after his co-worker, Senior Constable Peter Umbers, was murdered in Ranfurly in 1990.
He was also among officers dealing with the Aramoana massacre that year and was discharged from the police in June 1991. There was "no trauma counselling for police staff at that time".
He said when he saw the car being driven erratically he felt it needed to be stopped. "I was alarmed and reacted, going into police mode - genuinely believing this vehicle had to be stopped before entering Oamaru. I flashed my lights and the Subaru eventually pulled over."
He said he had never been discharged of his oath.
"I swore an oath to the Queen requiring me to protect her subjects. I did not resign . . . I was not required to undergo any type of de-swearing as such and did not sign any document acknowledging my release from this oath. I am labelled police long-term injured."
He had purchased a vehicle black box digital recorder to ensure he did not react in a similar manner in the future and would instead provide video evidence to police at a later time.
Judge Joanna Maze convicted Van Der Eik and ordered him to come up if called upon within 12 months, which means he would be sentenced on the charge only if he faced another charge in the next 12 months.
"This will give you time to accept that you are no longer a sworn police officer. I am sure much of this goes back to the very sad murder of Senior Constable Umbers. You have suffered from events that have happened to you, these factors have probably led you to a rigid approach to the oath you took. A discharge is obviously important to you."
The police prosecutor was instructed to arrange for Van Der Eik to be formally discharged from his oath as a police officer.
- © Fairfax NZ News