He should have a medal not a conviction

Clayton Mitchell looks like a top bloke.

He smacked up a gang member in a past life and for some strange reason ended up with a conviction for his troubles.

An MP received a suspended sentence following a fight with a gang member who attacked him after being refused entry to a bar.

First-term NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell, 43, has reluctantly spoken about the incident, which occurred 18 years ago.

“The reality is, everyone has a past and I have got one, too. I have been involved in hospitality for 25 years and so, because you run bars and you stand on the front door, you do have, and I certainly have had, over the years, a lot of situations where you get put into very perilous situations.”

Mr Mitchell, who was a Tauranga City councillor before entering Parliament after the last election, was in charge of the city’s Straight Shooters Bar in 1997, when a gang member with facial tattoos was refused entry.

“It turned into a confrontation, a physical one, he was a lot bigger than me, he was a very intimidating individual. I got a black eye and swollen face out of it. Read more »

Crusher’s baaaack

Judith Collins has a hard hitting column in the Sunday Star-Times showing her mettle again on law and order.

Who would want to be an undercover police officer? You put your life on the line, you leave your home and family, you assume an identity, you live with people who are violent drug dealers in constant fear for your life, and then they start to suspect you.

Either you get out and the whole costly operation is compromised or you stay put and leave your life in the hands of people who might well kill you.  If they find out who you really are, not only are you at serious risk, but so is your family.

So, you might think the police could set up a fake search warrant, like the fake identity items you already have, to bolster your story and provide you better cover. Well, you’d be wrong.

Nelson police targeted the Red Devils gang in the undercover Operation Explorer, from September 2009 to March 2011.

Explorer resulted in more than 150 charges, including drugs, firearms and conspiracy charges, being laid against 21 members and associates of the gang. That sounds like a great result to me.

But, the Crown recently dropped the case after Justice David Collins stayed a majority of the charges because, he says, evidence for them was ‘improperly’ obtained by police.

Justice Collins ruled police probably broke the law when they forged that search warrant and prosecuted an undercover officer to bolster his credibility with the gang. He said the police’s actions amounted to “significant misconduct” and possible “serious criminal offending”.

Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess has said officers involved in the fake warrant and prosecution “were acting in the honest belief that their actions were lawful and necessary to protect the undercover officer”.

Police reviewed the conduct of staff involved with Operation Explorer in 2012 and found no prosecution or disciplinary action were required.

I couldn’t agree more with the police. It is simply outrageous that serious criminal offending by a dangerous gang be allowed to go unanswered. Their illegal firearms continue to be out on the streets, and these dangerous criminals continue to be a risk to families and communities. The gang must be laughing. The message is clear to criminal gangs. Let your new friend know you think they could be police, know that if they are, the operation will be closed down.

Read more »


So where did the drugs go?

The story of gang drugs going missing from an evidence locket in the Waikato leading to the case against that gang member being dropped just won’t lie down.  The cop under the gun explains why he was so “friendly” with the gang

A former Huntly police officer believed it was his duty to forge relationships with gang leaders and criminals.

Blair Donaldson said it was his job, as a sergeant, to make those ties.

“If I’m on leave and there’s a gang homicide, they’re not going to speak to some stranger.”

Donaldson, 52, believes it was these relationships that meant he came under suspicion when police began a criminal investigation three years ago into the disappearance of methamphetamine from the Huntly police station.

About $5000 worth of the drug, confiscated from a Black Power member was taken from an evidence safe some time between June 2010 and January 2011, when a district-wide audit found the drugs missing.

Police have now admitted “multiple” drugs exhibits went missing from the station, but have refused to give details.

Two weeks after the theft was discovered, the gang member changed his plea from guilty to not guilty, sparking speculation within police circles that a “rat” had tipped off the gang that the drugs were gone.

Donaldson subsequently found himself the subject of a Code of Conduct investigation over an audit he had conducted of the station shortly before the drugs were discovered missing.

He was accused of falsifying the audit and later charged with serious misconduct. His relationships with gang members were brought up during questioning.

He strongly denies any wrongdoing and feels as though he’s been made a scapegoat. His record, including a bravery award for helping defuse a hostage situation, wasn’t taken into consideration, he says.

It isn’t too hard to connect the dots.  But to do so at a standard that can stand up in court appears to be the problem.  Especially when it turns out their “evidence safe” was a joke   Read more »

The Herald and gang porn

The Herald couldn’t be more out of touch with New Zealand if it tried.

Every day this week it has been plastered with pictures of Headhunters, as if they are normal everyday citizens who just happen to wear colourful clothing.

Yes, I get that it has suited the love story theme, but you still can’t get away from the fact that gang members are criminals and create criminal enterprises based on illegal products such as methamphetamine.

What the Herald has been telling us this week is that gangs are basically decent guys who can sometimes be rogues, but who are loyal to their friends. I get the loyalty to friends bit…I do…but.

No mention of their crimes or the absolute misery they cause to law-abiding New Zealanders. No mention of how you actually obtain a patch.

And all this in the week that the Herald dismissed the government’s announcement to deal with gangs.  Read more »


So-called tough guy wants lighter sentence because he is Maori

Here I was thinking that Mongrel Mob members were supposed to be tough, but this blouse wants a reduced sentence because he is…wait for it…Maori.

He should hand his patch back, what a blouse.

A Mongrel Mob member facing more than six years in jail is appealing his manslaughter sentence on the grounds being Maori puts him at a social disadvantage.

The Court of Appeal reserved its decision, with a judge labelling the request as “radical” during the hearing in Auckland today.

Jessie Mika, who has been involved with a gang since he was 16 and has “Mobsta” tattooed across his face, was sentenced in September to six years and nine months in jail for causing the death of a teenage boy during a car chase in Canterbury.

Christchurch defence lawyer James Rapley said Maori should receive shorter prison sentences because they come from an environment of social deprivation and inequality.

“Fifty-one per cent of the prison population is Maori,” he told the Court of Appeal. “Everyone says everyone should be treated alike and equally, but not everyone is equal.”  Read more »

Top British Cop calls for end to war on drugs

Prohibition on drugs hasn’t worked, nor did it work on booze. It was ridiculous to even suggest it may have worked. Prohibition has never worked anywhere in the world.

Even countries with the death penalty for drug offences have drug problems. The world over people are starting to wake up to the issue.

Class A drugs should be decriminalised and drug addicts “treated and cared for not criminalised”, according to a senior UK police officer.

Writing in the Observer, Chief Constable Mike Barton of Durham Police said prohibition had put billions of pounds into the hands of criminals.

He called for an open debate on the problems caused by drugs.

The Home Office reiterated its stance and said drugs were illegal because they were dangerous.  Read more »


Gang Patch bill passed

Might need a grinder to remove this patch

Might need a grinder to remove this patch

Mark Mitchell’s Gang Insignia Bill was passed last night. Mark took over promoting the bill after Todd McClay was appointed a minister.

A bill banning gang insignia in places owned by the Crown or local authorities has passed into law [last night].

Police would be given the power to seize gang patches and official colours within a few days. Offenders could be faced with a $2000 fine.

The Prohibition of Gang Insignia Government Premises Bill’s sponsor MP Mark Mitchell said he did not expect an escalation in tension between police and gang members as a result of the changes.   Read more »

Gang Patch Bill

Unfortunately cracking down on gangs doesn’t have the mainstream media appeal of gay marriage, new holidays (in 2015), Aaron Gilmore’s drunken rampages through Hanmer Springs and bigger hand-outs.

But last night, Mark Mitchell gave a bloody good speech on Todd McClay’s bill to ban gang patches from certain public places.

Worth a watch:

Read more »


Good, Cops appeal bad Judge’s decision

The Police are appealing the stupid decision by a bad Judge to let 21 scum back on the streets in a fit of petulance.

I hope they win.

Police are appealing a High Court decision to throw out charges against 21 Nelson gang members after police tried to falsely prosecute an undercover officer to boost his credibility within the group.

Last week Justice Simon France ordered a stay of proceedings against the group, who were facing a range of charges including drug offences and being part of an organised criminal group.

The Solicitor General confirmed today that the decision would be appealed.


Franks on Gang Case

Stephen Franks comments on the Red Devils case where an activist judge let 21 harden gang members get away with their crimes:

Herald writer John Roughan puts the layman’s case against Simon France J’s stay of the Red Devil prosecutions mentioned in my Thursday post.

Though he probably feels no need for them, there is also legal logic against what the judge did. Hopefully it will be tested on appeal in this case.

Having now read the judgment I can understand the judge’s outrage. I would not have been as charitable as him about the police serving up a late-manufactured purported ops manual entry.

From the judge’s account there should be prosecutions for false swearing or some other perjury or serious deceit charge.

But on the judge’s own statement the deceptions, including the deceits involved in being undercover, have no connection to the charges he then stayed, including the evidence on them.

So his reaction is no different in principle from the operating strategy of terrorism – injure innocent third parties to coerce those you think should obey you.

Terrorists believe their purposes over ride all others. Their objectives are so pure that the suffering of those they injure as tools is just a necessary price. Their ends justify their means.

Comparing a Judges actions to those of terror organisations is certainly novel.

Or when they have to acknowledge the hurt of those they choose to sacrifice, they may impute collective guilt to the whole class who may be victims (capitalists, citizens of the great Satan, Christians, Jews, night club patrons, Shia – to Sunni and Sunni to Shia)to justify hurting innocents with no power to make the decisions sought by terrorists.

They often turn to terrorism because they can’t overcome safeguards in the usual procedures (such as persuading voters, or getting a privilege or decision in due process).

The Red Devil case judicial approach is indistinguishable.

The case against the Judge strengthens.

Judges who trash prosecutions to punish breaches by particular Police officers seem to feel they have no lawful direct power over those they want to control or to punish. Perhaps the lawful procedure has what they consider to be inadequate sentence. Perhaps the process is cumbersome or gets less attention.

Welcome to the law as citizens experience it every day.

But citizens are told smugly that they have no excuse for taking remedies into their own hands. And they certainly have no excuse for taking their deterrent vengeance to an organisation that employs the wrongdoer. Do we see support from judges for wronged individuals taking out their frustration on associates or colleagues of the wrongdoers?

As John Roughan makes plain, staying a prosecution punishes the community, and perhaps not even the police officers who are culpable.

Yes, the actions of the judge do punish the citizens of Nelson. He is an activist and petulant Judge.

Those who pay the highest price for a stay are the next victims of offenders who would have been in custody or deterred by the charges proceeding. Next comes the community’s trust in the law.

If the consequence is the emboldening of a gang the outcomes of this application of the terrorist approach could be as dire as the physical harm of “normal” terrorism. To the extent crime rates generally are affected by any obvious ineffectiveness of the law the decision could have as many victims as a bomb targetting random innocents. The bomber says ” I destroy or kill something or someone valuable to you if you do not behave as I want”.

While Judge sit aloof in their courts they run the risk of losing touch with the communities they are supposed to serve. This si the problem we face with tenured, padded and cosseted judges. This problem is exacerbated when they are FIFO (Fly in, Fly out) judges as is the case with Simon France. He is based in Wellington and so can safely go home while 21 hardened criminals roam the streets of Nelson as a result of his decision.

Stephen Franks makes a reasoned and sage assessment of the travesty of this judicial activism, many including me are not so subtle.