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Ex-Raro detective back in the news

Monday July 02, 2018 Written by Published in Crime
Former detective Mark Franklin as he appears on the “true crime” podcast, “Gone Fishing.” 18062604 Former detective Mark Franklin as he appears on the “true crime” podcast, “Gone Fishing.” 18062604

Disgraced detective and former Rarotonga resident Mark Franklin is in the news again, this time making an appearance in a “true crime” podcast on the New Zealand Stuff website.

The podcast, titled “Gone Fishing”, is built around claims that a New Zealand woman who witnessed a burglary that police alleged was the motive for the 1989 murder of West Auckland man Deane Fuller-Sandys, was “totally wrong”.

In 1999 Gail Maney was convicted for ordering a hit on Fuller-Sandys after he was said to have burgled her home in Henderson, West Auckland, nine years earlier. Fuller-Sandys’ body has never been found.

The podcast is based on the claims of a private investigator who has been looking into the case, which dominated news headlines in New Zealand at the time. It features photos, interviews, video footage and timelines.

Franklin headed the police investigation into the alleged murder and the podcast includes an interview with him.

In August 2013, Franklin was sentenced to a year in Arorangi prison after he sold cannabis to an undercover police officer who according to media reports at the time, had deliberately set him up twice. He was caught during a 2010-2011 undercover Cook Islands Police investigation on cannabis importation and distribution, dubbed “Operation Eagle.”

His sentence was later reduced from 12 months’ imprisonment to nine months on appeal.

In 2016 Franklin was under threat of deportation when he left the Cook Islands on his own accord, rather than face being thrown out of the country and banned from returning for five years. He and his partner, Vaine Marsters were not given a definite timeframe as to when they would be allowed to come back.

Franklin came to Rarotonga in 2004 on police business. The then New Zealand Police crime manager for Northland, he was seconded to the Cook Islands to review an historic homicide. He liked Rarotonga so much he decided to take early retirement from the New Zealand Police and move here. A keen musician, he became a regular on the island’s entertainment circuit.

In his capacity as a police officer he was involved in a two-year investigation into then Atiu MP Norman George, who in May 2010 was acquitted in the High Court on seven charges of corruption. In 2009 Franklin led an investigation into former Cook Islands Tourism Corporation head Chris Wong, who came to police attention following the release in 2007 of an audit report alleging abuse of public funds. 

In 2010 Franklin told CINews he would continue to work part time with the Cook Islands police fraud office after police commissioner Maara Tetava extended his contract until June that year.

Just three years later he found himself on the other side of the law – behind bars at Arorangi prison.

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