For the background to this article, scroll down to February 24.
An Expensive Process
By Carol Sawyer
After two court hearings, (30 November 2017 and 16 January, 2018 ) and a two-day trial ( 19 and 20 February, 2018 ) the case has been dismissed.
Graeme Sturgeon and his wife Julie have a massive legal bill to pay. They have, in Graeme’s words, endured “the worst three months of their lives”.
The case hinged on security footage which Graeme’s lawyer just could not get from the Department of Conservation (DoC). At first they were given only 6 seconds of footage and this inability to get hold of information crucial to the case caused expensive holdups (for both Graeme and the NZ taxpayer). Eventually, and only recently, a full 15 minutes was supplied.
Statements from other assault victims
Dr. Wendy Pond, who was also assaulted by Lane, strangely was told the Police wouldn’t press charges because she was ” associated with Graeme Sturgeon”. What does THAT mean ?
Her witness statement contains the words “Mr X deftly opened my car door (breaking and entering), took hold of the ignition key, and attempted to pull the key out (intention to detain). I took my left hand off the gear lever, and using both my hands I tried with all my strength to wrestle with his hand. As we struggled, there was a moment when his grip released and I could put my right hand over the key. To my utter astonishment Mr X tried again to wrench out both my hand
and the key (assault). I was determined to protect my privacy and safety from this man who had already demonstrated that he could act with intuitive violence.
Eventually he let go. I am still revolted by his insinuation and indecent swiftness, and alarmed by DoC’s disregard for lawful process.”
Diana Halstead, who was also assaulted by Lane, wanted the Police to press charges and the Justice Deparment has only recently told her they considered her complaint ” frivolous and vexatious”.
Her witness statement contains these words “The same security guard then stepped into my car to take possession of it, but I was quick enough to put my hand through the open window and remove the keys. I consider his was an action of assault as I was standing beside the car and he was acting against my wishes. He should have waited for the police to decide what he was permitted by law to do.”
Both these women are are senior citizens.
Secrecy, danger and justified reparations
Add to this the illegalities surrounding the secret storage for four and a half months, in the Liquor King Building in Whitianga’s CBD, of 23.7 tonnes of 1080 baits, alongside petrol, and unknown to the surrounding residential home-owners, adjacent supermarkets, and even the other tenants of the building, NOR the Fire Chief and local Thames/Coromandel District Council.
DoC heads should certainly roll.