Complaint to P.C.A.



C.J. & B. E. Watson

PO Box 336                                                                              






Judge I A Borrin

Acting Police Complaints Authority

PO Box 5025





Dear Sir


          I wish to lodge a complaint regarding the actions of a NZ Police officer.


          This complaint concerns the sworn affidavit of Det. Inspector Robert John Pope and false statements of fact contained within it.


          The affidavit was first presented at the High Court in Wellington on 18/2/98 and was subsequently presented a further four times to support the issue and renewal of the interception warrants applied for.


          Although there are numerous irrelevant, selectively over-stated and false statements in this affidavit, many relate solely to statements by people or matters of opinion and so are open to a defense of “belief”. I restrict this complaint to matters of fact, which, if not known to Inspector Pope, should have been known to him in light of his position as officer in charge of the investigation.


The information untruthfully presented in this affidavit resulted in the suspension of the privacy rights of a number of people, including myself, when interception warrants, based on the reliability of the information provided under oath to the court by Inspector Pope, were issued by various High Court Judges, one of whom, Justice Heron, later became the trial judge. Justice Heron could well have brought these lies to his conduct of the trial as ‘inside information’ and it is possible that his decisions may have been coloured by them.


The wrongly stated facts are as follows:



8.2        At about 5.30 am Mahoney woke and noticed that the "Blade" had gone[CW1] .  He also noticed that Watson had left his fender, which had been placed between the two yachts, behind.


David Mahoney did not in fact awake at 5:30 am, but at 8:00 am. He insisted that this was so when pressed by police in a further statement. [Tam Docs 20084 and 10669]


The inspector is attributing to this witness, a statement that was not made and by doing so is misleading the court.



            8.9       Scott Watson claims to have been clean-shaven [CW2] over 31 December 1997/1 January 1998 while approximately 23 witnesses describe the "third person", [CW3] believed to be Watson, as unshaven.  Watson is known personally to several of these witnesses.


            8.26     Scott Watson has endeavoured to mislead the Police by:

                         8.26.2          [CW4] misrepresenting the extent of facial hair that he had on 31 December 1997/1 January 1998.


          Scott Watson did not claim in any recorded statement or job sheet that he was clean-shaven. [Tam docs 10083 and 20029] He does not appear to have been asked this question at any time.


          The Inspector is ascribing statements to the suspect that were not made and is misleading the court.




          There were only five persons who would be capable of describing “the third person”. None of them described Scott Watson and none had any knowledge of him. At least two of the five had participated in a formal identification procedure prior to 18/2/98 and neither chose Scott Watson from the montage shown to them.


          The inspector misled the court by inflating the number and relevance of available identification witnesses.



            8.26     Scott Watson has endeavoured to mislead the Police by:

             8.26.2          [CW5] misrepresenting the extent of facial hair that he had on 31                December  1997/1 January 1998.

                         8.26.3[CW6]           cutting his hair and, according to various witnesses, substantially tidying his general appearance.


          Both 8.26.2 and 8.26.3 as statements of fact are disproved by a series of photographs taken at about 10:00am 31/12/97, at about 9:30 pm 31/12/97, the early evening of 8/1/98 and the early evening of 12/1/98. All of these depict a short haired, clean shaven Scott Watson with what would appear to be a natural amount of hair growth over the time period 31/12/97 to 12/1/98. Inspector Pope could not be unaware of these photographs as he quotes the existence of one of them (Mina Cornelia photo) in the affidavit at para. 8.8


At the time that this affidavit was sworn all of these photographs had been in police hands for at least thirty days.


The statement of fact that Scott Watson cut his hair is plainly and demonstrably false.



          7.1       Witnesses spoken to by the Police who were aboard the "Mina Cornelia" and "Bianco", including Dave Mahoney, Emestes Rutte ("Mina Cornelia"), Deanna Cunliffe and Andrew Cranshaw ("Bianco"), described Scott Watson's behaviour when he arrived in Endeavour Inlet at about 4 pm on 31 December 1997 as normal.  However each describe a deterioration in his conduct following consumption of alcohol and drugs to such an extent that by 10 pm on 31 December 1997 he had become obnoxious.  Their descriptions vary from .'aggressive", "abusive" to "rude".  Each began to feel threatened by, and frightened of his conduct.


          Cunliffe and Crawshaw had no contact with Scott Watson that would allow them to form any opinion of “normal” behaviour, were not present when he arrived in Endeavour Inlet and do not describe a “deterioration” as stated. They were not present during the time period that this “deterioration” is said to have taken place. [Tam docs 20323 and 10340]


To put witnesses in places and attribute statements to them that are patently false was misleading.



          8.11     From photographs taken at about 8.30 pm on 31 December 1997 by a person on the shore, Watson's yacht is shown rafted alongside the "Mina Cornelia".  A further photograph taken at about 6 am on 1 January 1998 shows the vessel, the "Mina Cornelia, but Watson's yacht, the "Blade", can no longer be seen in the photograph.


            8.26     Scott Watson has endeavoured to mislead the Police by:


8.26.5  Misleading the Police as to the time he left Endeavour Inlet.


          The photograph said to have been taken at 8:30 pm (In actual fact 6:30 pm) also shows the vessels ‘Unicorn’ and ‘Bulletproof’. ‘Unicorn’ also can not be seen in the photograph said to have been taken at 6:00 am. The four people aboard Unicorn give various times for leaving Furneaux ranging from 6:30 am to 8:30 am. [Tam docs 20038, 20085, 20088 and 20112]. An independent witness describes a yacht with a dog similar to that aboard Unicorn leaving the area at 7:00 am. [Tam doc 11390]. The vessel ‘Bulletproof’ does also not appear in the photograph. No person aboard this vessel stated that it left prior to 6:30 am. [Tam docs 10477, 40105, 20819 and 10519]. A person aboard Unicorn describes this vessel leaving prior to leaving themselves. The time as stated that this photograph was taken (6:00 am) is incorrect in that evidence existed independently of the photographer’s timing that the photograph could have been taken as late or later than 7:00 am but not before ‘Unicorn’ had left the area.


          It is of interest that two witnesses on separate vessels describe a small yacht leaving the inlet prior to the departure of Unicorn and after 6:30 am. Neither was closely questioned by police on this subject and the vessel remains unidentified.


          In Tam doc 20112 which is the only in-depth police interview of Scott Watson, he states:


“After waking up, checked the oil in the motor, and left.  It was about half past 6, 7 o’clock when I left.  It was dawn anyway.  It was daylight.  I am guessing it was that time.  It was early, but it was a nice day.”


To state that Scott Watson misled the police because his boat did not appear in this photograph is at best misleading and there can be no excuse for the selective use of the photograph in this fashion as all of the information that disproves the assertion made by Inspector Pope was available to police prior to swearing of this affidavit.



15.7     The statements of fact contained in this application are true and correct and all statements of opinion are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.


I believe that Inspector Pope, by representing these untruths as facts has committed perjury as defined by section 108 of the Crimes Act 1961 or, if application for interception warrants is not classified as a judicial proceeding then he has made a false oath as described in section 110 of the Crimes Act, either is an offense punishable by imprisonment.


It would seem that the inspector has long held his recently stated belief that “police would not be fettered by convention when it came to taking cost effective courses of action”.


As you will appreciate, interception warrants are issued in secret and there is no right of reply by the person(s) being spied on. Police should be scrupulously accurate in their applications for these warrants. The ends do not justify the means.


Considering the serious abuse of the trust, which the court exhibited in Inspector Pope and police in general, I anticipate that this complaint will result in a prosecution under the above act.  



Documentation is available at your request.




Yours Sincerely


C. J. Watson



Reply from PCA



 [CW1]This is factually incorrect. Mahoney insisted that he awoke at 8:00 am even when pressed by police

 [CW2]Not supported by any statement of Watson. Had not been asked.

 [CW3]Only five witnesses in any position to attempt a description.

 [CW4]No statement of Watson shows any sign of questioning re facial hair.

 [CW5]No statement of Watson shows any sign of questioning re facial hair.

 [CW6]Factually incorrect. Police in prior possesion of photographic evidence that shows that this is not so. One of these photos is used in para. 8.8 as regarding clothing.