Coromandel man, 69-year-old Graeme Sturgeon, author, conservationist, and Vietnam war veteran, was assaulted in in the public car park of the Liquor King Building, Whitianga, on the night of 17 October, 2017 – hauled from his car by a ” security guard’, his clothing torn and his nose bloodied.….. (even his car door handle broken.) Carol Sawyer
Violence at a secret 1080 loading site
Put together by Roger Childs, with information from Carol Sawyer, Graeme Sturgeon and Wendy Pond
There is a strong anti-1080 group on the Coromandel Peninsula and members were concerned about a planned drop in the area two months ago.
On the night of the October 17, the day before the scheduled operation, Department of Conservation (DoC), employees were spotted loading tons of 1080 pellets on to trucks. This was beside a storage area located at the back of the Liquor King building, close to houses and shops.
There was no signage or any indication that vehicles couldn’t enter, so Graeme Sturgeon drove in. Then all hell broke loose. According to Graeme:
I drove up the road alongside Liquor King and around the back of the building. As I turned the right angle corner at the back of the building I came upon 5 or six trucks that I had not seen until that moment.
I stopped and was in the process of taking off my seat belt and reaching for my camera, when my door flew open and I was grabbed by the scruff of the neck and dragged from my vehicle.
The Police charge Graeme Sturgeon!
As in today’s world a professional Locksmith and the average locksmith rates for the service they offer are quite reasonable and due to this people are using their services to get better locks, due to few security professionals in this field the trust which people have on locksmiths and personal security guards is slowly fading, thus resulting in more paranoid people and less business for the security as well as locksmith professionals.
The person who attacked Graeme, and who is now being declared by Police to be the one attacked, is ‘security guard’ Richard (Rick) Steven Perry Lane, who is listed as a director and shareholder of a security firm, VIP SECURITY CONSULTANTS LTD.
However some checking showed that VIP was not a bona fide security firm at the time, and the company was only registered on 12 December 2017.
So for the mid October 1080 drop, DoC was not using a registered security firm, as it is required to do.
It turns out that Lane actually does contract spraying for the Waikato Regional Council, when he’s not acting as a “security guard”.
Anyway, Lane convinced the Police that he was in fact the one attacked in the Whitianga incident!
So the Police charged Graeme Sturgeon with assault. At the preliminary hearing on November 30 Sturgeon pleaded Not Guilty and will appear in court again on 16 January 2018.
The Police case (Sergeant Morrison’s notes)
At about 7:40pm he (Sturgeon) then drove his Toyota vehicle towards trucks that were being used to transport 1080 at the rear of the premises.
He was then signalled to stop by a security guard, the victim in this matter, Richard Steven Perry LANE, but he continued past him and parked beside the front truck.
The victim then approached the driver’s door of the vehicle and opened it, concerned as to the risk the occupant posed.
- then kicked the driver’s door open fully and kicked out at the victim, striking him in the stomach.
- then punched the victim to his jaw, before being restrained by the victim at arm’s length.
- then attempted to punch the victim in the head area a further three times, before he was calmed down by people present.
INJURIES TO VICTIM
As a result of the assault, the victim received soreness to his jaw area.
When spoken to by Police, the Defendant denied the facts as outlined and stated that he was the one assaulted.
There were no comments on injuries to the “Defendant”.
Graeme Surgeon remembers this about the situation following the assault:
As my nose was bleeding I staggered back to my vehicle to get some tissues to be told that I was not getting into my vehicle as it was staying where it was until the police arrived. I was happy enough with that. I then became aware that both the inside and outside locking system of the driver’s door was broken and the door hinges appeared bent as the door would not close very well. I could not lock the door.
On the following day (October 18), DoC’s “security” was very much in evidence at the drop loading site. The helicopters were lined up in a field behind a high fence on the boundary of the Papakai public conservation land.
Local anti-1080 activist, Dr Wendy Pond, noted that the five officers stationed behind the high “electric” fence were DoC staff (e.g. the female warranted officer) and possibly security staff or HeliResources staff contracted by DoC.
However, the “security” at the drop zone were very much incognito, wearing sunglasses and beanies, had no apparent IDs and would not give their names. At least one was wearing a bullet proof vest.
Furthermore, the vehicle they used was spotted with no mileage sticker, no registration sticker, and no number plate. (See the photo alongside.)
Serious questions need to be answered
- Why were tons of 1080 being furtively loaded at night on to trucks close to housing and shops?
- Why didn’t DoC inform the Whitianga Fire Service it had stored 20 tons of 1080 toxin in the Whitianga CBD?
- Why did DoC fail to use a reputable security firm?
- Did the DoC bosses in Wellington know that their people on the ground were using unregistered security guards in Whitianga and the drop zone?
- How could the Police believe that a 69 year old man attacked a security guard who was probably much stronger and less than half his age?
- Do the Prime Minister and the Minister of Conservation know what procedures DoC are using for 1080 drops in the name of the government?
And the fundamental question: does the new government understand what disastrous effects 1080 drops are having on the New Zealand environment?