Tree obscures view of attack
A young Hamilton woman beaten unconscious in a central city assault feels let down after police discovered that council CCTV footage of the incident had been blocked by a tree.
The City Safe wardens and CCTV cameras cost ratepayers $300,000 a year, and are a key part of a strategy against assaults and late-night crime.
But Hamilton police have told the woman that because the cameras were obscured they have insufficient evidence to press charges.
Council City Safe manager Elton Parata confirmed that a few of the central city's 21 CCTV cameras were occasionally obstructed by foliage. His staff had asked other council staff to respond.
“Hamilton, like any other city using a CCTV security system, does have spots where buildings, structures or trees do partially obscure lines of sight for cameras. This can't be helped,” Mr Parata said.
The 20-year-old woman told the Waikato Times her assailants, three women, attacked her and her 22-year-old sister from behind without warning.
Her sister suffered ongoing pain from broken ribs and other injuries, while she still had nightmares about the attack two months on.
The trio were found by police soon after the May 13 incident, but have told investigating officers they did not instigate it and also suffered injuries.
In a closing letter police told the woman, who did not want to be named due to fears for her safety, "unfortunately, there are no independent witnesses to the incident and the [council] CCTV cameras were obstructed by a tree."
The woman denied she and her "petite" sister started fighting.
"I'm about five foot (1.5 metres), my sister is shorter than I am. We would never pick on people for starters. I was knocked out cold and my sister had broken ribs. I came round seeing my sister facedown, not moving on the ground."
Mr Parata said checks prompted by Times inquiries had shown the camera involved in the assault was not obscured now. Because footage was held only for 30 days, he could not comment on whether or not it had been.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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