Footage of an alleged incident involving an off-duty Queenstown cop and a taxi driver has been broadcast on TV news.
Constable Jenny McNee, 43, is charged with using offensive language after an alleged late-night altercation with a Queenstown Taxis driver on November 3.
TV3 has broadcast footage apparently of the alleged incident captured by the taxi’s on-board camera. The taxi footage broadcast doesn’t have any audio.
Queenstown Taxis managing director Grant Scannell, having seen the CCTV himself, has called for McNee to be charged with assault.
McNee’s Queenstown-based solicitor Nic Soper, of Anderson Lloyd, says he believes broadcasting it was a misjudgement and will complain to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.
“There are issues as to whether Jenny’s rights to a fair hearing have been compromised,” Soper tells Mountain Scene.
“Publication of the video and comments from the taxi company potentially prejudice and compromise Jenny’s defence.
“We’re giving consideration whether there is scope for the charge to be dropped.”
Scannell tells Mountain Scene he feels let down by police: “From what I see, they’re going to sweep this under the carpet.”
Inspector Andrew Burns, Area Commander Otago Rural tells Mountain Scene: “The fact that the footage has been released to media is a matter for the court.”
McNee, on unrelated unpaid leave, has had her case adjourned until May 27.
An experienced criminal lawyer tells Mountain Scene a charge of common assault under New Zealand’s Summary Offences Act – usually for a relatively minor offence likely to involve a push or a slap – must be laid within 12 months of the incident.
A charge of assault under the Crimes Act, which generally requires something more serious like a punch, can be laid five years after an incident. – Paul Taylor