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Review Clears DC Over Sounds Murders Affadavits

Review Clears Deputy Commissioner Over Sounds Murders Affadavits

New Zealand Police National News Release
8:59am 21 December 2008
21 December 2008

An investigation by police has cleared Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope of making false statements during applications for electronic interception warrants during the Operation TAM murder investigation.

This follows complaints by Christopher Watson, the father of Scott Watson who was jailed for the murder of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in 1998. Mr Watson alleged that Rob Pope, then officer in charge of Operation Tam, made false statements in a sworn affadavit first presented to the High Court in Wellington on 18 February 1998.

Police have today released a report into those complaints by Detective Inspector Ross Pinkham. A review of that investigation, carried out by Assistant Commissioner Gavin Jones, has also been released. This review was itself independently reviewed by Barrister Philip Morgan QC, prior to completion.

DI Pinkham finds that the then Detective Inspector Pope did not mislead the Court and that the allegation of swearing a false affadavit was not substantiated.

Assistant Commissioner Gavin Jones reaches the same conclusion.

"Errors or mistakes either inadvertently or collectively do not adversely impact on the overall integrity of the affidavit, nor do they meet a criminal threshold," AC Jones said.

DI Pinkham and AC Jones met in person with Chris Watson last week to explain the findings of the investigation.

DI Pinkham has apologised to Chris Watson for the four year delay in producing his report, citing various factors including his posting from one position to another and his involvement in a number of criminal investigations.

The review by AC Jones acknowledges this delay was "unacceptable" and includes a number of recommendations to improve internal processes to prevent future delays of this nature.

The two reports will now be forwarded to the Independent Police Conduct Authority for further review.

As this matter is still before the IPCA Police will not comment further.


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