A senior police officer who was today discharged without
conviction for assaulting two teenagers has been placed on
Inspector Richard Wilkie, 51, a former Manurewa area
commander, now faces an internal police investigation into
He pleaded guilty in July to two charges of assault during an
off-duty incident, after discovering his 14-year-old daughter
drinking with other teenagers in Bucklands Beach, Auckland,
in the early hours of the morning.
He was seen by two patrol constables to kick and swear at two
of the boys. The constables had called the parents of the
teens to take them home.
Wilkie was today discharged without conviction at the
Auckland District Court, and ordered to pay court costs of
$132.89, as well as $500 to each of his victims.
Judge Brooke Gibson said the boys had not suffered physically
or psychologically from the incident, and Mr Wilkie had
accepted responsibility for his actions and shown remorse.
He had already suffered professionally from the charges,
Judge Gibson said, being made to undertake tasks "which would
be seen, in terms of status, as tasks not suited to the role
of an inspector". The incident would also leave "a black
spot" on his otherwise untarnished employment record of 32
A police spokesperson confirmed Wilkie had been reassigned to
"alternative duties" during the course of the investigation
and trial, and would remain in that role pending the outcome
of the internal tribunal.
Police Minister Anne Tolley today said the "whole affair is
very unfortunate", adding: "It also shows that police don't
hesitate to prosecute their own."
However, the ruling was greeted with derision by some,
including a protester in court who shouted his displeasure
from the public gallery.
As Judge Gibson gave his verdict, the man yelled: "It's an
Barrister Todd Simmonds said while each case is different,
"it is certainly not uncommon for a discharge without
conviction to be granted" for a such an offence.
"In my experience a 51-year-old with no previous convictions
and an otherwise outstanding reputation would typically be
offered diversion for offending of this nature," he said.
"The fact that diversion was not offered to Inspector Wilkie
reflects the fact that police officers face particularly
close scrutiny and accountability for their actions."
A diversion can be offered to first-time offenders allowing
them to avoid a criminal conviction if they apologise.
In court today Judge Gibson acknowledged that fact, saying:
"I think it's very likely that if the defendant had not been
a police officer he would have been offered a diversion.
[But] given his rank I think it is appropriate that a court
dealt with the matter."
Wilkie was hugged by emotional family members outside court,
but declined to comment to media. His lawyer Richard Earwaker
said Wilkie and his family were "very relieved".
"It's been hard for him and his family. He's acted very
responsibly right from the start; he obviously is very
remorseful, he feels for the young complainants," Mr Earwaker
- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ