How independent is the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA)?
People might think I am an obsessed mother who will never admit that my son is guilty of anything, and I totally get that.
Some may say I am on a crusade and will never stop, and they are right, but what they need to understand is this isn’t only about guilt or innocence, this isn’t just about my son, this is about justice.
After months of consideration, going through statements, police job sheets and trial transcripts it became very clear that the biggest injustice in my son’s case was the process.
I have previously discussed police conflicts of interest forms being filled out by officers who investigated Jamie’s case, and that all but one of those officers had a clear conflict of interest in the case.
How the alleged victim’s father knew nearly all of the police officers investigating Jamie’s case, all of which is written on the forms.
As wrong and as corrupt as this sounds, it was a terrible fact that we had to grin and bear through out the whole trial process, mainly because defence counsel was not aware of these conflicts until after a conviction had been entered.
The Jury never got to hear of these conflicts. Some of the Polices’ core values are professionalism, respect, integrity, and empathy. The investigation against my son was anything but, he was prejudiced from the start because of the biased and corrupt way the officers started and carried out this investigation. That unfairness carried on to the trial, where the Judge, Jury and hislawyer wasn’t even made aware of these conflicts, until it was too late.
Not being one to sit back and do nothing, I decided to exercise my right of complaint, and wrote my concerns in a sixty-two-page document to the IPCA which was submitted to them on the 7th of October 2021, and we were advised it possibly could take two to three months for their investigation to be completed and for us to get a response.
Finally, someone was listening, and we had a voice. How wrong could I have been!
I received a one-page written response on the 20th of October 2021 stating, “ as you were able to raise these issues in court, we are exercising our discretion under s18(1)(b)(v) of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act and we will be taking no further action”.
The IPCA’s role is not to examine convictions and or appeals, its role is to investigate any misconduct or neglect of duty by Police employees, or any Police practise, policy, or procedure.
I had not asked them to review the courts decision, I had made honest, truthful, factual allegations about police errors that were made during my son’s investigation. Errors that are being repeated every day by police all over New Zealand, hoping to be heard so that policing policy could be changed and so that this sort of shocking policing can never happen again to another New Zealander.
How can the IPCA be independent when a great deal of the IPCA employees are ex police officers ? People who know the very people and system that complaints are being made about or against.
I question how, even after a royal commission of inquiry into the independence of police investigations, can this still be happening. Dame Margaret Bazley commissioned a report into police investigation independency in 2007 and made several recommendations, one of which was
“New Zealand Police should develop a consistent practice of identifying any independence issues at the outset of an investigation of a complaint involving a police officer or a police associate, to ensure there is a high degree of transparency and consistency. The practice should be supported by an explicit policy on the need for independence in such an investigation”.
In my son’s case this has clearly not been implemented, so how many other investigations are there out there that need looking into. How many other New Zealanders have been wrongfully prosecuted, convicted and sentenced because of the Police breaching their own standards?
In closing I will say, although our journey has been a harrowing experience, it has ignited a part of me that I never knew existed. Fight, passion, and a sense of duty to our country.
Due to my experience, I have created a lobby group and a charitable trust that will stand up for all New Zealanders. Social Justice Aotearoa, www.sja.org.nz, will stand up against corrupt policing, people being treated unjustly by corrections and any injustice in Aotearoa.
Jackie is a hardworking mother and grandmother; she is also the Managing Director of her own business. From humble beginnings, Jackie endured hardships during her childhood, spending time in Women’s Refuge and working from a young age to help support her mother and siblings. She has been married for 26 years and resides on the Hibiscus Coast with her family.