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Burton Should Have Been Back Behind Bars Sooner

25 February 2007

Burton Should Have Been Back Behind Bars Sooner - Mark

New Zealand law and order spokesperson Ron Mark says that the report released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the Police handling of the Graeme Burton affair shows lives were put unnecessarily at risk when information that could have sent Burton back to prison was not acted on as soon as it became available.

“It is plain that Police could have taken action when they knew, in November and early December, that Burton was already committing acts of violence and taking methamphetamine, and was clearly in breach of his parole,” said Mr Mark.

“It is disappointing that Police did not fully explore a way to give the Probation Service the evidence they needed for Burton’s recall by way of an affidavit.

“That showed a lack of willingness to discuss other options and work with the Probation Service to find a way to bring this to a conclusion, even though they were aware of the urgency required.

“That is something that needs to be addressed for the sake of future cases before other lives are put at risk.

“The fact that they did not appear to fully understand the relevant section of the Parole Act that would have enabled Burton’s early arrest also gives much cause for concern.

“It is to be hoped that Police have already addressed the administrative failures that meant the warrant was not logged for several days.

“The only positive aspect of the report is in the extraordinary courage of the two front-line general duties officers who put their own lives at risk in order to capture Burton, so bringing to an end his bloody rampage.

“For that they should be commended.”


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