Dunedin child-killer Edward Livingstone should never have
been given police diversion for an earlier breach of a
protection order and it was a mistake he didn't face the court
for it, according to court documents filed by a prosecutor.
The detail appears to have been missed by judicial and police
staff, who arranged for Livingstone to do a 12-week domestic
violence course to earn a waiver.
The granting of diversion is one of the issues being probed
in an investigation into the deaths of Bradley, 9, and Ellen,
6, who were killed by their father in their St Leonards home
before he took his own life.
The killings came last month when Livingstone stormed into
the family home, from which he was barred by a protection
order taken by wife Katharine Webb.
The detail emerged during a New Zealand Herald search
of the court file relating to Livingstone's two breaches of
the protection order taken against him.
The first was dealt with through the police diversion scheme,
meaning he escaped without conviction. The second time
Livingstone breached the order, he was given a discharge
The apparent error over diversion for the first breach may
have led to Livingstone receiving lighter treatment for the
He was twice able to flout a court order and approach Ms Webb
without gaining a conviction.
Police prosecutor Katherine Saxton had opposed the discharge
without conviction, telling the court a mistake had been made
over his earlier breach. "The police diversion scheme
prohibits diversion for breaches of court orders therefore
this matter should not have been resolved this way."
Livingstone's lawyer had argued a conviction would cost him
his job at the Department of Corrections.
But Ms Saxton said Ms Webb objected to her estranged husband
being let off without a conviction. "She states it took a lot
of courage to call the police on each occasion."
A police spokeswoman confirmed that diversion should not have
"This is because a breach of a court order is viewed as a
serious incident and indicates that an offence against
someone has occurred - hence there is no policy, practice or
ability to consider diversion in these circumstances."
Detective Inspector Steve McGregor said the issue was part of
the police's investigation.
Police interview full of contrition
"I am sorry I upset Kath."
The plaintive words are captured in a police interview of
Edward Livingstone after he breached for a second time a
protection order taken out by his estranged wife Katharine
The interview, on September 14, records his admission he
breached the order. "I broke down," he told Constable Mark
Tuten. "I couldn't rationalise anything."
He also minimised a prior breach of the order, saying he had
simply emailed Ms Webb. In reality, he staked out the
neighbourhood from which he was banned and went on to the
In the second breach, he admitted ringing her. "I said I
loved Bradley and Ellen. What happened between us, wasn't me
that done it. It was a reaction to the Zyban [stop-smoking
medication] that made me psychotic."
The reference, repeated in a November court affidavit,
appears to relate to a May incident for which he was detained
for psychiatric treatment. A doctor's letter on the file
refers to Livingstone stopping the medication.
"This offending was largely caused by my untreated depression
and inability to rationally deal with my relationship
- David Fisher of the NZ Herald