The High Court has ruled against the police who are trying to avoid paying up if they lose an unprecedented proceeds-of-crime case over a fatal explosion that killed a young welder.
It is the latest twist in a case that has some businesses asking if police are overstepping their powers.
Police are seeking millions of dollars in personal and business assets from Salters Cartage boss Ron Salter, who processes waste oil at Wiri, sentenced for safety breaches in 2017 over the 2015 death of 24-year-old Jamey Lee Bowring.
It is the first time the proceeds-of-crime laws aimed at gangs and drug-dealing have been levelled against a business.
An earlier ruling said police would have to underwrite losses suffered by the Salters if they lost the case.
Police challenged that, but have now lost.
As someone who has personally fought Police abuse of power, this is an important ruling designed to hurt the NZ Police financially for their appalling over reach with the proceeds of crime legislation.
You will remember the proceeds of crime legislation. It bewilderingly lowered the evidential threshold from beyond reasonable doubt to balance of probabilities, this enormous extension of power to the State allowed them to take your property based on nothing more than probability.
Such a titanic increase in State power was justified at the time as only being applicable to organized crime so we accepted it right up until the NZ Police decided to take a gamble and use the law on a legitimate business.
That’s the case we are seeing before us and the Court is being damning of the Police gamble.
The only thing that teaches the Police that they have abused their powers are huge costs.
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