A bungled Queenstown drugs case shows police are using pre-charge warnings to do deals with potential criminals, Tindallgate bouncer Jonathan Dixon claims.
Mountain Scene can reveal Dixon - who gained international notoriety when he outed England rugby star Mike Tindall in Queenstown before the 2011 Rugby World Cup - was part of the defence team for Christian Pearce and James Neill, whose drugs case after a pre-trial hearing last month.
Police have launched an , led by experienced Dunedin detective Malcolm Inglis. But Dixon is calling for an independent to be brought in to ensure transparency.
Defence lawyer Hugo Young suggested to the officer in charge of the case, constable Jason Reid, that evidence of drug dealing by a man referred to as Subject A was overlooked - and a pre-charge warning was offered as a “deal” in return for information.
Reid rejected that suggestion, saying mistakes had been made in the case but none were deliberate.
Dixon says the pre-charge warning “deal” could be the tip of the iceberg within the Queenstown police.
“That [a pre-charge warning ‘deal’] is what happened here in this case.
“I can’t say it’s for the whole of the New Zealand police force.
“That’s why I say there has to be an independent inquiry on not just the Queenstown police but to look at the bigger picture.”
Reid consulted senior officers in the bungled Queenstown case - which Dixon says is a pointer to problems at the very top.
Dixon - who is not a lawyer, but represented himself in the Supreme Court - was approached by Pearce for advice.
Dixon helped write court applications and requests and some questions for the hearing.
Pre-charge warnings are given after an arrest for minor offences. Tens of thousands have been handed out since the policy was rolled out nationwide in September 2010.
Otago Lakes-Central commander inspector Olaf Jensen says in an emailed statement the Pearce/Neill case is being reviewed by a senior officer and it would be inappropriate to comment further.
“Police are committed to ensuring that it works to the highest standards and in line with our core values.
“If Dixon has any concerns he wishes to raise about police then he has a number of avenues to lodge a complaint, either directly with police or to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA).
“We are not aware that Dixon has made any such complaint at this time.”
Dixon says his own experience raises questions about Queenstown police’s behaviour.
He took his terminally ill friend Sarah Kerby to the police station in November 2013 to give a statement about an alleged assault - but police refused to take a statement with him present. Kerby died of cancer in April last year.
Jensen says the alleged assault was thoroughly investigated and reviewed by prosecution staff - and police decided not to prosecute.
Jensen says an IPCA review backed the police decision.
Kerby was interviewed “when an appropriate support person was available”, he says.
In 2013, Dixon of two assault charges after an incident at Queenstown nightclub Subculture in 2012.