Chris Patterson

Enforce the perjury law or ditch it

Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe hard at work not prosecuting perjury cases

Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe hard at work not prosecuting perjury cases

by Stephen Cook

ENFORCE THE perjury law or scrap it altogether.

That?s the no-nonsense call from Auckland barrister Chris Patterson in the wake of a startling admission from police they?re turning a blind eye to perjury because it?s too difficult a crime to prosecute.

The perjury issue has recently been making headlines following Chris Cairns? indictment in the United Kingdom in relation to a 2012 UK libel trial over alleged match-fixing.

However, in the past week the debate has shifted to the actual law itself after police here?conceded that knowingly giving false testimony under oath was an offence that was rarely prosecuted.

It?s a remarkable admission from police given the offence of perjury ? punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment ? strikes at the very core of the integrity and confidence we place in our justice system.

The use of perjured testimony not only violates due process, but it can also contribute to wrongful convictions such as that seen in the high-profile Arthur Allan Thomas murder case.

In a police job sheet from June last year obtained this week by Whaleoil, Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe, the officer responsible for reviewing all perjury complaints in the Auckland City area, reveals the crime of perjury is not something given much attention by the Crown.

?To give? some context about how Police deal with perjury complaints, and how high the bar is set for prosecutions? two prosecutions have recently been completed to a standard ready to present to the courts and we have not received authority to prosecute,? he said. ?? Read more »