Police failed me, says Hamilton assault victim

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 08:18 15/01/2014
Marlon Fitzpatrick
Bruce Mercer/Fairfax NZ

NO JUSTICE: Marlon Fitzpatrick beneath the CCTV camera he says should have recorded his attacker.

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A man who believes he may have been the victim of a violent "knockout" game has taken aim at Hamilton's security cameras and police after they failed to find his attacker.

Initially police said they had exhausted all options in the case, and that the Christmas tree in the city square blocked the CCTV camera's view.

But Waikato Times inquiries have found the investigators failed to request Hamilton City Council footage from the camera closest to the scene.

The recording has now been erased.

Actor Marlon Fitzpatrick, of Katikati, was walking home from a night on the town on December 14 with a friend. They passed a group of men on Victoria St, just south of the square, about 4am.

"A guy randomly clocked me from out of nowhere," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

There were no words spoken - the punch was unexpected and unprovoked, he said.

He suspected the incident may have been linked to a series of cases in the United States where teenagers randomly hit strangers on the street to try to knock them out.

Mr Fitzpatrick dropped to the ground and stood up "angry".

"Citizen's arrest was my mode and I chased him down to the Christmas tree. He made it to it and because I was antagonising him and yelling at him for hitting me he came back and attacked me again, right near that camera."

The attacker then fled and hopped into a red Subaru.

Mr Fitzpatrick suffered whiplash, a bruised cheek, a bloody nose and grazing to a knee and a hand.

The camera Mr Fitzpatrick refers to is up a pole on the Garden Place side of Victoria St, which he says should have had a clear view of parts of the incident.

The council has 25 cameras, including four within Garden Place. For 15 to 17 hours a day they are actively monitored and the automatic function can be overridden to focus on one area.

Hamilton police say the footage held no clues but the council confirmed that only footage from camera 9 was requested. This camera is attached to the council building, while camera 3 is on the edge of Victoria St.

District case management co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Tim Anderson initially said "there is little to suggest police could have done any more".

After reading the council's comments, Mr Anderson said: "In hindsight, camera 3 footage should have also been supplied for police to view, although I am advised that this incident likely happened outside of the view of that camera".

The file remains open but, due to a lack of evidence, it has not progressed.

Mr Fitzpatrick is critical of both police and the city's CCTV capability.

"A man so obviously disturbed as this man to cowardly [and] randomly attack a man blindly in the street like this must be caught. What is the point of having a camera there if it fails me in this situation?"

Police would still like to hear from anyone who witnessed the attack or who has information on the identity of the person responsible. Information can be left with Hamilton police on (07) 858 6200 or anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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