Police inquiry into bungled drug bust


Experienced Dunedin detective Malcolm Inglis is heading an internal police inquiry into a bungled Queenstown drugs bust.

Earlier this month, after a pre trial hearing, district court Judge Bernadette Farnan dismissed all charges against Queenstown men Christian Michael Pearce, 23, and James Robert Neill, 29, relating to the sale of cannabis.

Judge Farnan said the officer in charge of the investigation, Constable Jason Reid, was “reckless” and “sloppy”.

The decision prompted a police review of the case, which is now under way.

Detective senior sergeant Inglis, who has been a policeman for 38 years, heads the Southern district police organised crime squad. He will review the full investigation.

He was appointed by southern district commander superintendent Andrew Coster and district manager of criminal investigations detective inspector Tom Fitzgerald.

Inglis says last week he had only just started reading about the case.

“It’ll be a long time before I’ll be reviewing evidence.”

Police says there is no set time for the inquiry because of its complexities.

A 12 point “frame of reference” for Inglis has been released to the Otago Daily Times. The inquiry is required to determine 12 points.

They include:

• Was the initial search legal?

• Was evidence given by Const Reid misleading?

• Did the evidence satisfy the Solicitor general’s prosecution guidelines?

• Was the Criminal Justice Support Unit involved in preparing the file?

• Were legislative requirements fulfilled for disclosure to the defence?

Otago Daily Times

• Were the supervisor’s responsibilities carried out?

• How was the decision reached to have Const Reid continue the investigation when the ”scale of offending indicated specialist input” was required?

Const Reid remains on active duties, police confirmed.