Off-duty police should have been warned over poaching incident - IPCA

Police have investigated allegations about favourable treatment towards off-duty officers in Central Otago. (File photo)

Police have investigated allegations about favourable treatment towards off-duty officers in Central Otago. (File photo)

Two senior police officers allegedly caught poaching on private land should have received formal warnings, the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCA) has found.

Four people, including the two off-duty police officers, were caught shining a spotlight into a paddock near Omakau, in Central Otago on January 20, 2016.

The IPCA did not name the officers, referring to them as officers A and D, however Stuff has previously named the pair as Senior Constable Gary Donnelly, a dog handler, and Senior Constable Dougal Adams, a scene of crime officer, both based in Christchurch.

The landowner told the IPCA the area was "known for poachers" and he had previously caught poachers, including one who was "through the court within two weeks".

READ MORE: Police officer won't be charged despite claims he was 'poaching' on private land

The farmer and his neighbour, who spotted the hunting party, approached the group, with the driver advising he was an off-duty police officer.

He said he was looking for deer to show a female passenger, and the farmer recognised the driver as a person who owned a local holiday home.

Local police were called to investigate, with one of the officers called later telling the IPCA: "I thought this was above my pay scale."

The two off-duty officers said they were returning from a Department of Conservation block, which they had a permit to be on.

No animal carcasses or ammunition were found, and no shots were heard in the area.

Ad Feedback

One of the investigating officers admitted to the IPCA that he should have taken notes and photographs of the scene and the firearms, taken a statement from all four occupants, and seized their firearms and other hunting equipment.

Senior officers, including the Southern District commander, were advised there was a growing interest in the matter, including allegations police were not investigating their own.

The IPCA received four complaints about the police's delay in deciding whether to lay charges against the officers, alleging they were treated more favourably than members of the public.

Judge Colin Doherty said in the IPCA's decision, released on Thursday, that while there was no evidence the attending police officers knew each other, the incident involved a "perceived conflict of interest", as off-duty police officers were involved.

"The protracted investigation and the long periods of inaction gave the impression that police were treating their officers differently from members of the public, and looking for a reason not to take action," he said.

The IPCA concluded the decision not to prosecute two officers was reasonable and justifiable based on public interest grounds, but they should "at least have received formal warnings".

Southern police commander Superintendent Paul Basham acknowledged the depth of feeling across the Central Otago community regarding illegal hunting which, to some extent, had resulted from the inconsistency in how police responded to such incidents in the past. 

A district-wide review was under way, with a working group established to provide guidance to staff.

Canterbury police commander John Price said the off-duty Canterbury officers had been through an employment investigation, but he could not provide further details for privacy reasons.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers

Fighting for her life

Tamaki Drive has one of the country's highest crash rates

A woman is fighting for her life after being hit by a car while walking her dogs on an Auckland waterfront footpath.

Semi-finals still a possibility

Heat No.8 Justine Lavea bursts from the back of a scrum with half back Arihiana Marino in support.

The Steelers are worried more about making the Mitre 10 Cup semi-finals than the threat of relegation.

Same issues, different decade

A homeless man walks through downtown Auckland wearing a blanket.

Homelessness, teacher shortages and dairy robberies have long been issues in Auckland.

Judith Collins 'delighted' with result

Papakura Labour Party candidate Jesse Pabla says he will be back at 2020 election.

Judith Collins is back in the Papakura seat.


'Gay village' vetoes church union

Sara Rimmer, left, and Alexandra Saunders were refused a church wedding in St Peter's Anglican Church in Paekākāriki, on ...

Paekākāriki is known for being liberal. But not when it came to Alex and Sara's wedding.

Downpours and gales 

12072017 News photo MONIQUE FORD / STUFF
Wellington rain and wind weather

Motorists warned, windows blown out as gales picked to gust to 130kmh with heavy rain.

Gorge options discussed

The 13 alternative route options are available for public viewing and comment on the NZTA website.

Thirteen alternative routes to the Manawatū Gorge have been laid out for the public to discuss.

Jailed blackmailer wants out

Blackmailer Jacob Kirby-Parker wants his jail sentence reduced to home detention.

Blackmailer Jacob Kirby-Parker threatened to send intimate pics of his victim to her brother.


Dashed wedding turnaround

Central Otago Wedding Fair 'Dream Wedding' winners Ashleigh Sinclair and Jai Beck, of Clyde.

A Clyde couple who cancelled their wedding after falling pregnant will still get to walk down the aisle.

1600 delegates coming

The Piano in the performing arts precinct is another piece of the venue jigsaw puzzle for the conference.

With no convention centre built, Christchurch's largest post-quake conference required a venue "jigsaw"

Whitebaiter's river death 'tragic'

Helen Wood died at Kairaki Beach, in North Canterbury, on Friday night. The beach is popular with fishers and ...

Helen Wood reversed her trailer onto the beach before her car went into the river with her inside.

Doctor loses citizenship fight

Dr Robert Taylor has twice fought a decision to revoke his citizenship. He won the first time but the second time a ...

Robert Taylor didn't mention a sex offence arrest when he applied to be a Kiwi.


Bitter blow for Māori

Te Ururoa Flavell concedes to Tamati Coffey

OPINION: Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox were truly independent voices but will nop longer be heard

Fonterra 'fat cat' jibe

Theo Spierings and Winston Peters

The kingmaker Winston Peters slams the king of dairy's $8.32m pay packet.

Coast search continues

The man's fishing rod was found where he was last seen at Papanui Pt.

Searchers to scour the coastline of Papanui Pt for missing Hamilton fisherman.

Pensioner found safe 

John Lee, 80, was reported missing from Mt Maunganui on Monday afternoon.

John Lee, 80, has been found and is "safe and well".


Powerful words for wāhine

Patea Area School students Tasiah Marino, Te Anahera Maraki, Maruata Cribb, IronMaori founder Heather Skipworth ...

Diversity is a cultural advantage in the marketplace and in society, a Columbian-born entrepreneur says.

Heavy rain warning 

Rough weather has descended onto Taranaki as MetService issues severe weather watch. (View in New Plymouth and Hawera)

It's going to pour down on Mt Taranaki and gale force northwest winds could batter the region today.

'Undesirable' gully

Lucy's Gully is part of the Egmont National Park.

There's towering redwoods, native ferns and birdsong whistling through the bush. But there's also a lot of old rubbish.

Blind biking challenge

Jan Tyson is helping Teena McEwen, who is blind, prepare for Taranaki Around The Mountain Cycle Challenge.

Teena McEwen is gearing up for next year's Around the Mountain cycle challenge.


Red Nose Day is ready to roll

The Manawatu Turbos in support of Red Nose Day join Tai Te Awa with asthma, Kase Williams, 10, with cystic fibrosis and ...

Cure Kids Red Nose Day organiser Laurel Winiata is hoping for a spring break.

Fighting to live video

Kerry McGrath wants to live her dream and travel the country in her house bus. But she needs some help to do so.

Kerry McGrath just wants to get to living in her gypsy house bus, cancer-free.

Gorge options given

The 13 alternative route options are available for public viewing and comment on the NZTA website.

Thirteen alternative routes to the Manawatū Gorge have been laid out for the public to discuss.

Greens in difficult position

Green Party leader James Shaw knows siding with National is too risky.

OPINION: The Green Party faithful seem quite grateful to be back in Parliament.


Farewell to kindly street 'godfather'

Ron Brinsdon, pictured in 2005, on his dawn can collection run in Hardy St. He was remembered as an intelligent and ...

Farewell to the Tin Man: a homeless man who touched many lives was described as an intelligent and caring man at his funeral.

Fire prompts reminder

The fire that took hold of a house in Washington Valley is thought to have started when embers were blown underneath the ...

Ceiling fire in Nelson a strong message about clean chimneys says Fire Service.

Mayor's 'talk' over councillor's blog

Mayor Richard Kempthorne says no other action is planned over the blog.

Cr Dean McNamara gets a talk from Tasman mayor over allegations in his blog.

Revved up over hobby

Preston Brunell of Stoke Mechanical and Tyres.

Nelson man Preston Brunell has got plenty of mileage from his lifelong love of custom cars.


Threatened for testifying

Police target boy racers doing burnouts on public roads. (File photo)

"Good luck, you're stuck with me forever," says teen, as she threatens to send her boy racer mates around.

Muddy cover-up fails

Reid Kevin Heyward has been caught poaching up the Awatere Valley in Marlborough. (File photo)

The number plates were carefully covered in mud so no-one could identify the truck. But then the farmer showed up.

Trek almost turns tragic

Waihopai Valley woman Del Bissell, right, fell ill while trekking in the Mongolian mountains, pictured here with fellow ...

Four days into a two-week horse trek in the isolated Altai Mountains, Del Bissell realised she was in serious trouble.

Potholes made him swerve

Robert James Pickering was caught drink-driving on State Highway 63 near Wairau Valley. (File photo)

Drink-driver who "works hard, plays hard" drives into oncoming traffic with bottle of booze in hand.

South Canterbury

Grace makes NZ Schools side

Timaru Boys' High School First XV captain  Cullen Grace has made the NZ Schools side to tour Australia.

Timaru Boys' High School First XV captain Cullen Grace will wear the silver fern.

Fine weather back

A severe weather warning was in place for heavy winds in Canterbury on Monday morning.

The majority of South Canterbury is expected to have fine weather on Tuesday.

Craigmore a designer's 'dream' video

Olympian Jock Paget is being hosted at Craigmore Station for the first fundraising event for a proposed new eventing course.

Olympian throws support behind proposed world class eventing course at Craigmore Station.

Call for model plane size limits

South Canterbury Model Aero Club vice-president Robbie Hellewell launches his Parkzone Visionair AS3X aircraft into the ...

Safety concerns prompt SC Aero Club to call for more rules around model aeroplanes.


Circus time in Clutha

St Joseph's Primary School leads the way in the Balclutha Santa Parade.

The circus is coming to Clutha this Christmas.

Rare striped dolphin found

The male dolphin had no obvious external signs of injury.

Researchers are investigating the southern most stranding of a rare species of dolphin.

Pupils say no to plastic

Pupil Davi Valle Dos Santros ,7, is protesting against plastic bags.

Over 60 Queenstown Primary School students protest against plastic use as they clean the beach.

The search continues

Police are still appealing for sightings of missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe.

Searchers will again be exploring the Catlins Conservation Park on Tuesday, in the search for missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe.


Centenarian receives more family after birthday

Wallace Price, left, with his son Graeme at the Grasmere Kindergarten to vote in the 2017 general election.

Among the gifts Wallace Price received for his 100th birthday he got a whole new side to the family.

Meridian 'flooding my family farm' video

Looking out over the Hollyburn creek which has been flooded by water from the Waiau river.

Every time Meridian Energy releases the Manapouri dam, Thomas O'Brien loses another chunk of farmland.

The search continues

Police are still appealing for sightings of missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe.

Searchers will again be exploring the Catlins Conservation Park on Tuesday, in the search for missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe.

Dig This founder visits 

Dig This creator Ed Mumm, Southland District mayor Gary Tong, HWR Group director Scott O'Donnell and Dig This ...

Dig This founder Ed Mumm paid a visit to the Invercargill franchise to help fine-tune the attraction.

Ad Feedback