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Lawyer to lodge official complaint against police

Saturday 20 August 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Court, National

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Lawyer to lodge official   complaint against police
Norman George. Photo: CI News

The lawyer of the person who was arrested a week after an alleged drink driving offence will file an official complaint against police.

Defence lawyer Norman George says he will be lodging an official complaint relating to his client who was arrested a week after allegedly drink driving but he would not take legal action against the police.

George, in a letter to Cook Islands News on Thursday, said his client, a young female school teacher, was arrested more than seven days after getting a blood test (excess blood alcohol) after falling off her motorbike.

George told this newspaper on Friday an arrest immediately after a drink driving incident could be justified for safety reasons but an arrest made a week after the event was “very impossible to justify”.

“We’re not in Afghanistan or Russia,” George said.

He said his client would plead not guilty when she appears in court to excess blood alcohol because of how the police behaved.

“I intend to follow this through and we will also be contending the prosecution,” George said.

“I’m going to contest it every bit of the way.”

George’s letter claimed police put his client in the cells because he advised her that she did not need to go to a police interview or answer any questions.

“It’s out of spite (she was put in custody) because she exercised her rights and also out of spite for me because I put my nose in it,” George said yesterday.

In his letter George said the duty sergeant placed his client in custody as a punishment for his legal advice.

He said the police’s conduct was not an isolated event and recalled it happening “dozens of times” previously. '

However, George said he would not be taking legal action against the police for their conduct.

He claimed police arrested people after the indecent because it was less work for them, adding it meant police did not need to type out the defendant’s summons.

Since his letter to the editor, George said he had positive feedback from the public.

Cook Islands Solicitor General Graham Leung on Thursday said the timing of any arrest was subject to many factors, which included operational considerations.

“Arrests often follow sometime after events for a huge array of reasons. I am unable to speculate as to what may or may not have happened in this case as I do not have the full facts in front of me,” Leung said.

“Whether an arrest is unlawful would depend on all the circumstances of the case and if argued would be a matter for a court to determine.

“The person concerned has legal representation and is entitled to pursue any legal remedy at her disposal if she feels her legal rights have been violated.”

On Thursday police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said there was no internal investigation into the complaint and he had not been given a response by the police leadership on George’s complaints.