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Calls for better police training on trespass laws after drink-drive conviction is overturned

Ripu Bhatia Auckland Reporter Stuff News

August 28, 2019, • 06:59pm


Police officers need more training on trespass laws to avoid accidentally breaking them while making arrests, a solicitor says. 


The call comes after a High Court judge quashed an Auckland man's drink-drive convictions because a police officer unlawfully arrested him in his driveway after he refused a breath test.


Solicitor Umar Kuddus said he had seen the situation “time and time again” and had personally dealt with two cases in the past 12 months.


“If the police really want to make sure the cases they bring to court stick, education around laws of trespass need to be taught better,” he said.


“It is high time the police do a refresher course for all their officers who are on the beat, so they clearly know when they can and can’t lawfully enter a premise to make an arrest.”



A police officer has the same right as any other member of the community to walk onto someone else's property for a lawful purpose.


But if the person who answers the door tells the visitor to leave the property, and the visitor refuses, the visitor is unlawfully on the property as a trespasser.


Kuddus said he had recently seen a case where police breached their implied licence of entry and thereby trespassed on the property. 


"Unfortunately, before I took over the case the client pleaded guilty as he saw no defence. Sometimes officers compel people to do certain things and people who don't know the law blindly abide,” he said. 


‘It’s also just a waste of the court's resources and taxpayer money when cases have to be thrown out because an officer unintentionally broke the law.”


A police spokesperson said all officers went through robust training.

“But where possible we do make improvements and draw from lessons learned,” the spokesperson said.


In the High Court at Auckland, Paul Gordon Davey won an appeal against his 2018 convictions on one charge of refusing to permit a blood specimen to be taken, and one charge of resisting police.


Justice Timothy Brewer found the officer who arrested Davey didn't have permission to be on the property at the time of the arrest.


Davey's appeal was allowed and the charges were dismissed.


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