Charges against security company test for new law

A Tauranga firm has become the first company to face charges for operating a security business without a licence under the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010.

However, the owner of the company is fighting charges that his firm breached new legislation, citing complex grey areas in the fine print.

Andrew Craig Campbell's company Satellite Security Systems NZ Ltd, which also operated under the name Satellite Security Ltd and before that Radius Security BOP Ltd, faces six charges of operating a security business without a licence.

The case would be based on Judge Merelina Burnett's interpretation of the provisions of the new legislation and whether Campbell's business was acting out of line with the act.

Campbell, 45, also faces several charges along with his sales and training manager, Anthony John Tuhoro, 50, of Hamilton.

Tuhoro failed to turn up to yesterday's defended hearing at Hamilton District Court. Several warrants, including from the Inland Revenue Department, are out for his arrest.

Crown prosecutor Sheila Cameron, acting on behalf of the Internal Affairs Department, said the department received three complaints from two customers in Hamilton and one in Rotorua.

The charges came about as neither Campbell nor Tuhoro were licensed as security technicians.

Campbell had his licence suspended under the old act after facing several theft offences in relation to his former job. The charges were eventually withdrawn.

Another application to the department was declined.

Satellite Security Systems imports then sells CCTV security systems and alarms to clients around the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

He then hires contractors to install the systems for clients.

Ms Cameron said that, as Campbell did not have a licence, he was not allowed to carry out this work under the act.

However, David Bates, defence lawyer for Campbell, said his client was not installing the systems but simply importing them and selling them.

He admitted there was a grey area in the new act around a company hiring contractors to do installations for unlicensed operators.

After hearing from two Hamilton women who bought systems from the company and evidence from other Crown witnesses, Judge Burnett adjourned the matter for a further hearing on September 6. belinda.feek@waikatotimes.co.nz

Waikato Times