A police officer was one of the five charged after the scuffle fight – but yesterday he had his case dismissed at the High Court and his name permanently suppressed.
He withdrew his complaints against Gordon Crocombe, whose face was injured. Crocombe, in turn, withdraw his complaint against the officer. But the judge granted the officer permanent name suppression: media are never allowed to disclose the identity of the officer in the brawl.
Police prosecutor senior sergeant Fairoa Tararo advised the Justice of Peace Carmen Temata that the complaint against the officer has been withdrawn and he had met the requirements needed to dismiss the case.
Taroro said the officer had also made donations to a disability centre. Police were last night unable to say how much the donation was.
Defence counsel Norman George said he was happy with the decision, but said the original decision to lay charges against his client was ill-considered and there was insufficient evidence to proceed.
George said police overreacted and charged one of their own, thus damaging the reputation of a frontline police officer who should have been out fighting violence.
George said the police department should look into forming an independent conduct police authority group that looked into complaints against police.
As a former police officer himself, George said he felt for his client as the case had caused him a great deal of embarrassment.
The officer was originally accused of assaulting Gordon Crocombe, who was also charged with assault.
Crocombe and three other men – Silahelotu Vaomotou, Richard Meuel and Lucas Kamana – all faced similar charges.
Norman George explained that his client had withdrawn his complaint against Crocombe.
Sergeant Tararo confirmed that the charges on all four defendants have been withdrawn.