Friday, 28 July 2017

Dealing Properly With Rogue Police

Sad Case, Right Outcomes

Rogue police.  Usually when this hits the headlines it is referring to some overseas country--often the United States, not infrequently Australia, and sometimes the UK and Europe.  But New Zealand is like any other country: rogue policemen and police women can and do exist.  Only constant vigilance, training, an open culture, and ethical standards set and lived from the top down keep such perversity and systemic damage to the police (and the public) to a minimum.  

In a recent case a rogue policeman has been dealt with before the courts, and it now undergoing an "employment process"--that is, his employer, the NZ Police is now dealing with him via the procedures of employment law.
The stalker who harassed a Dunedin businessman for two-and-a-half years can now be revealed as a police officer.  Constable Jeremy Fraser Buis, 39, was sentenced following a judge-alone trial in March to 200 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victim, Danny Pryde, $15,000 after being found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to do grievous bodily harm and intentional damage.

Southern District commander Superintendent Paul Basham confirmed yesterday that the defendant had been suspended in February 2015 and an employment process was ongoing.  [NZ Herald]
What did this rogue police officer do?
 He had a quarrel with a neighbour, Mr Pryde.  He then set out to make him pay by running an anonymous campaign of hate against him.  It was a civil dispute that became criminal when Buis's campaign escalated.
The victim, who owns an engineering firm, had never met the defendant until June 14, 2012 when Buis parked in a location that blocked an entrance to Pryde Engineering.  Buis' car was ticketed at Pryde's request and it set in motion a bizarre, varied and prolonged campaign.  There were (sic) a slew of anonymous text messages, the victim's contact details were plastered around a gay hangout and Buis created a fake homosexual dating account using photos from Pryde's work website.  The businessman described it as "a living hell" and in the midst of the harassment believed he was going to be killed.
It was not the police who sought name suppression.  That came from Buis.  Victim Pryde was quick to point out that the police had not sought name suppression for one of their own.

It seems that Buis's immediate colleagues--at least some of them--knew of his offending and criminal behaviour, but did nothing to apprehend it.  Doubtless they too will be receiving corrective action from the department.

Our thanks should also extend to the media for challenging the court ordered name suppression--a challenge in which they were ultimately successful--which is why we all know about it now.  This is important part of the justice system because, as they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Maintaining an open culture within the police is a vital aspect of achieving and maintaining a culture of honour and respect.

Thankfully the malefactor did not resort to the Turei defence, which, in this instance would have been something like: it's not my fault; the culture of the police made me do it.

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