Two men who are allegedly members of the 'Roast Busters'
Facebook group, who posted their sexual exploits online.
Photo / 3News
Police were interviewing two men in relation to the
"Roast Busters'' Facebook page this afternoon.
Detective Bruce Scott from Waitemata police told APNZ one of
the men had voluntarily gone to a police station this
He had previously refused to co-operate with police
investigating the group, Mr Scott said.
Another man who had previously spoken to police was also
being re-interviewed today.
"We wanted to talk to him and he was happy to talk to us.''
Mr Scott said the case had been "vigorously investigated'' by
a officers from the child protection team, and he didn't
think there was any more police could have done to bring a
"We continue to look for evidence that will assist us in
determining whether there has been any criminal offending and
then once we've got this evidence we can make a determination
on what our next move is.''
Mr Scott said the Roast Busters facebook page had been left
open for "operational and tactical reasons''.
"Whilst we acknowledge it was upsetting for the victims, it
was being monitored for information or evidence that would
assist our investigation.''
Mr Scott that said to date, none of the girls contacted by
police had given a formal statement or made a formal
He said police needed to be careful not to re-victimise the
girls by pressuring them into making a statement.
"We continue to talk with girls involved in the group. The
difficulty is that we don't want to re-victimise the girls,
some of them don't wish to engage with us and we can't push
them to talk to the police.''
He said there were several reasons why the girls may not want
to make formal statements.
"They're fearful of the process, they're worried about their
peer group, they're traumatised by what's happened to them
and it affects them talking.''
Mr Scott said police would have pursued any potential charge
they could have against the group, but there was no evidence
to support any criminal charge.
"Bragging doesn't make evidence.''
He said police had "quite a lot of interaction'' with schools
in West Auckland to keep them up to date and seek their
The schools had been "absolutely'' assisting police, but Mr
Scott said he didn't know what, if any, action had been taken
by the schools.
Earlier today, Labour's women's affairs spokeswoman Carol
Beaumont said the group's exploits amounted to gang rape and
that no action has been taken by police was "astonishing".
"Our police pride themselves on being proactive. Surely that
could have extended to tracking these youths down and clearly
signalling that what they are doing is not okay."
But the Law Society's criminal law convenor Jonathan Krebs
said in this case, the police had their hands tied in not
being able to lay charges against the group.
"They [Roast Busters] actually have to do something that's
against the law and bragging about something on a website, at
the moment that I can see, is not against the law.
"Just because someone boasted on a website doesn't mean it's
true and we don't want to start convicting on bragging.''
The worst thing police could do at the moment was to bring a
prosecution that was a "bit loose'', Mr Krebs said.
"If one of these young ladies were to make a complaint to
police, then I would have thought police would take that up
and run with it.''
Ms Beaumont said the case raised broader questions around the
way rape victims were treated and questioned what was being
done to change the culture that meant teenage boys thought
such behaviour was acceptable.
NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker said Roast Busters
had organised a complex and bullying campaign.
"It's getting up there in terms of unpleasant things they
There was a concern that other young men would be inspired by
the group's actions, Mr Cocker said.
"What we're seeing increasingly is ... people get away with
this kind of behaviour and publicly get away with it, and
people recognise the extent to which you can behave badly
online and get away with it compared to the behaviour you can
get away with in society.''
There was not a lot that could be done to protect yourself
from online predators, he said.
"The people who are targeted by these guys, they are victims
in the true sense of the word, they have not done anything
Prime Minister John Key said today the "disturbing and
disgusting" behaviour of the group will be unlawful under a
bill about to be introduced to Parliament.
"As a parent I find the issue very disturbing and abhorrent,"
he said at his post cabinet press conference this afternoon.
He was responding to a story about the young men on TV3 last
night and the fact that police have said they could not take
it further because no victim was willing to come forward.
"You are talking about youngsters who are at a very delicate
age," he said.
He said that their practice of naming a particular young
woman would be unlawful under a law the Government is about
to introduce, the Harmful Digital Communications Bill.
"But it is actually a bigger issue and it is just extremely
disturbing and disgusting behaviour and these young guys
should grow up," he said.
He said it was very difficult to progress the issues if the
victim was not willing to make a formal complaint.
"It is a very challenging situation for a young woman to put
herself in that position. She would be subject to a full and
open process and that's very challenging. They are very
delicate years for these young girls so you can't blame them
but it is also very difficult legally for the police to
progress the issue without that."
Justice Minister Judith Collins foreshadowed the bill in
April as a way to address cyber bullies. Included among the
bill's measures would be:
• Making it an offence to send messages and post material
online that is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing
or knowingly false, punishable by up to 3 months imprisonment
or a $2,000 fine.
• Creating a new civil enforcement regime that includes
setting up or appointing an approved agency as the first port
of call for complaints.
• Allowing people to take serious complaints to the District
Court, which will be able to issue sanctions such as
take-down orders and cease-and-desist notices.
• Creating a new offence of incitement to commit suicide,
even in situations when a person does not attempt to take
their own life, punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment.