Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Lohlife: Busted In The Scoop-mobile!

Fines, Thugz ‘n Harmony

LOHLIFE – Thursday, September 7, 2000

Mathew and the Scoop-mobile before they were jailed

WELL it was a hard night in LOH’sLIFE on Wednesday. And according to Thursday’s papers it was an even harder night for our much maligned, overworked and understaffed police force – yeah right!

As the Wellington evening papers reported the police described “violence erupting” among teenage hordes before, during and after a Bones Thugz N Harmony rap concert in the city. Well LOHLIFE was there on the inside - literally – in a Wellington central police cell to see these terrors being dumped behind bars.

And what terrors they were, a bunch of mainly timid teenagers who may have been a bit loud on the night – loud enough anyway to attract the attention of police seemingly out to fill a quota of TERRIBLE TEENS rampaging out of control.

Anyway the sight and sound of these so-called terrors as they related their crimes: drinking in public; breaking a bottle, smoking a joint; escaping from custody after being seen smoking a joint; and believe it or not – communicating with a prisoner (who himself had been arrested for a dubious disorderly charge) was almost as much as a joke as the circumstances surrounding my witnessing their sorry plight.

Now don’t get me wrong, while LOHLIFE may be no stranger to the seedier side of life, he isn’t a regular visitor at all to the Hotel Central Police Station, and could have seen the teen terrors erupting into violence from loftier heights than what eventuated.

Yes LOHLIFE could have been there hanging with Bones and the rest of his Thugz and rappin’ crew courtesy of a close kinship with Kerry “the Jazzman” Boagni a legendary NZ-based black basket-baller who had the connection to the Bones crew.

But unfortunately instead of shaking the long hand of the Jazzman I was in the long arm of the law and locked up overnight for a total of close to 20 hours. Not because of any dastardly deed, serious crime or anything remotely interesting, no I was locked up and taking the time of police crying staff shortages in the face of five ongoing murder investigations, for that crime of crimes ,UNPAID FINES.

It reminded me of a comedy skit I have seen I think it was done by the surreal Monty Python crew that had crims lining up for seating. “MURDERER” shouts the warder and the murderer wanders out and sits down; “BANK ROBBER” and the bank-robber sits down next to his murdering mate; “ARSONIST” and the arsonist nestles beside the robber; “RAPIST” and the rapist takes a pew alongside his burning buddy. Then the shout of UNPAID FINES resounds through the air and all the crims shudder, shake and cower as they crowd to the corner to give room to that hardest of hard-core criminal the man who says up you to all and sundry by having the courage and criminal inclination to dare have UNPAID FINES.

You get the picture. But why would unpaid fines keep locked up for 20 hours? Well normally it wouldn’t, although admittedly legally unpaid fines leading to a warrant does give the cops the rights to hold you, but in the real world burglars, dealers and all sorts get bailed before having to spend a night behind bars, so why was I in overnight?

I’ll tell you why. It started when I was pulled over driving my registered and warranted Scoopmobile on Dixon St. At the time I didn’t know why I was pulled over, but later one of the arresting officers, Constable Lomas - No. ALI 617 - admitted that with my dark skin and rough dress I was a target as they targeted anyone appearing to be of lower socio-economic group. This was real policing he said. As poor people were more likely to have outstanding warrants or be active criminals.

That was why I was pulled over - but apart from my fines – which only three weeks before had been brought to my attention by another police officer (the payments had lapsed) and I made the necessary calls to sort it out – why was I kept in overnight?

The answer to that is simple Constable Foubister - No. RFH 590. She just didn’t like me. And in the typical good cop bad cop routine, went overboard on the bad side of the coin. She wouldn’t listen to my reasoning and protestations that the system not me was at fault. No she taunted me: “You’re staying overnight as anything (fines) over $1,000 means we can hold you until court tomorrow”

But even that wasn’t the case as when I said I could have my lawyer there to pay $600 to get me below the $1000 threshold Constable Foubister just laughed and said I’d need $1600 cash in minutes to have any chance of leaving the cells that night. She then even had the audacity to try not recording my right of protest about her behaviour.

When I, in answering another officer’s questions about my treatment, said I had been verbally abused, accused of lying and treated without any compassion whatsoever, Constable Foubister tried to prevent those comments being recorded, and when they were, she repeated them to me in surly sarcastic voice.

By then I knew I was in for a night in the cells, so I settled in to watch the hordes of rampaging teens being brought in.

All in all it was in a way an utterly hilarious joke – especially after the prosecuting sergeant Mark May turned up. Knowing him from way back I called him over.

“I’ve been in custody for 20 hours for unpaid fines” I told him.

“Unpaid fines are you sure that’s all?” replied an incredulous sergeant May.

“Just unpaid fines, you should have been out yesterday...hold on”.

And within minutes I was been hustled out of the holding cells and upstairs to sign a minutes worth of documentation and I was home free...a matter of minutes, and not a judge in sight. Like Sergeant May said, I should have been out the day before.

But then I wouldn’t have seen the comedy of the New Zealand police as they wasted their time on me and their hordes of rampaging violent teens. It really was a comic night of Fines Thugz and Disharmony. But sadly there is a tragedy involved, and that is the poor policing on display when there are five ongoing homicide cases, countless nutters lurking with intent to injure, and many other serious crimes going unsolved

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>