Victim of Dunedin police officer Jeremy Buis' harassment campaign fears going out in public
The victim of a police officer's two-and-a-half-year harassment campaign says he still fears going out in public.
Jeremy Fraser Buis, 39, was convicted on a raft of charges relating to harassing Daniel Pryde after a June 2012 parking dispute escalated. Suppression of his occupation was lifted in the High Court at Dunedin on Monday.
Pryde, who considered taking his own life because of the abuse, said on Tuesday he was glad Buis' occupation was public. Buis remains suspended from the police while an internal employment investigation continues.
Buis spray-painted Pryde's name and phone number in places where homosexual men hung out. He sent anonymous text messages to him featuring gay slurs and photos of penises.
The death threats "scarred me and my family the most", Pryde said on Tuesday.
One message from Buis told him to buy bulletproof clothing and get his life insurance sorted.
"That was when I realised he has taken it a step further. All the other angles he'd come at weren't working for him and I wasn't cracking.
"I really felt like he was going to step it up a notch and do something serious to me.
"We still can't go out in public as if he sees us he will still text from a new phone number and threaten me with new threats," he said.
Pryde described the last five years as a "pretty s... time".
"I've got a business to run, I've got a wife and two wee kids and just trying to protect everything I have worked hard for.
"He painted me as a paedophile, I was having an affair ... he said all sorts of terrible things that weren't true."
In April, Buis was found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to do grievous bodily harm and intentional damage.
Buis was sentenced to 200 hours of community work and ordered to pay emotional harm reparation of $15,000.
He received occupation suppression, which Otago Daily Times publisher Allied Press challenged in the High Court.
Buis' defence lawyer, Anne Stevens, argued publishing his occupation could tarnish the reputation of police, but Judge David Gendall found there was significant public interest to do so.
"The police, like any other profession, [are] not entitled to special treatment," the judge said.
Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham said police never sought suppression for Buis.
Buis' actions, as described during the court hearing, were "extremely disappointing".
"The behaviour outlined in the court case is not reflective of the good work that is done by officers in the wider Dunedin community every day.
"Every officer knows that the actions of one can impact on the reputation of the whole, which is why the public can be assured these types of matters are investigated to the highest standard."
Pryde said he was not "bitter" and would like to meet Buis one day.
"I think he needs help. I would love to sit in a room with him and say 'what was it all about? Why did you do it?' And then shake his hand and move on."
He said the officers investigating his case did a "tremendous job" supporting him – though it took some of his own leg work to prove Buis was responsible for the harassment.
An investigating police officer, who arrived at his office the day Pryde was sent a sex toy in the mail, told him Buis was not the man responsible.
Pryde eventually bought a cheap phone and sent a text message to one of the numbers Buis messaged him from.
Buis fell into the trap, replying from his day to day phone – not realising it was to his victim.
"I knew straight away that I had him," Pryde said.
"I went to police with that and they agreed I've got him."
Pryde said a police search of Buis' home revealed photos of Pryde, his wife and children on his computer.