Joseph Parker, left, and Beraiah Hales are the alleged
ringleaders of the Roast Busters group, who bragged on
Facebook about their exploits.
The complainant at the centre of the Roast Busters
scandal has had a "terrible" time since she went to the police
and those close to her are worried she will give up her fight
The West Auckland schoolgirl was 13 when she was allegedly
subjected to a sexual assault in 2011 by members of a group
of teenage youths known as the Roast Busters.
Beraiah Hales and his friend Joseph Parker are alleged to
have been the ringleaders of the Roast Busters, who bragged
on the group's Facebook page about having sex with girls.
Neither has been charged because of a lack of evidence,
A woman who knows the teenage complainant and her family said
that the three years since the complaint was laidhad been
"terrible" for them.
"[The complainant] is an amazing kid, I know that for sure.
But she went into a downward spiral ..."
The woman worried that because of the time that had passed
since the alleged offending, the teenager would "give up".
"She was prepared to fight. Now ... she feels disbelieved.
It's taken so long. It's ludicrous. The fact that [she] laid
the complaint years ago is disgusting. Nothing has been done
about it," she said.
An investigation is ongoing and a team of detectives is
collating information. It will be handed over to the police
legal unit at the end of next month and a decision will be
made on whether charges can be laid.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority was called upon to
investigate the police handling of the initial investigation,
and also the way they handled publicity about the case.
Incorrect information was repeatedly given to the media about
the case, prompting the Commissioner of Police at the time,
Peter Marshall, to concede that officers "could have been
While the report into the actual investigation will be
withheld until the conclusion of the case and any court
proceedings that may follow, the IPCA yesterday released its
findings on the botched handling of media inquiries.
It said a "systemic breakdown in communication" by police led
to inaccurate information being provided to the public,
however, "no individual could be criticised" for that.
"In this instance the Minister of Police, the commissioner
and the public were advised that no complaints or formal
statements had been received from any of the alleged victims
of the Roast Busters and that was the reason why police had
not been able to undertake further investigations or lay any
"This was incorrect," IPCA chairman Judge Sir David
Carruthers said. "... time should have been taken to obtain
the correct details from the police files in response to
questions from the media."
He blamed the problem on a "collective breakdown in
communication as a result of other commitments and time
Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said he agreed with
the authority's report.
"Police are very aware of the obligation to communicate
accurately to the public at all times. Unfortunately we did
not get it right on this occasion and we regret that."
Police Minister Anne Tolley said the commissioner had to take
responsibility for the "very basic errors" because no
individual at New Zealand Police had been identified as at
fault. She said she would make it clear to the commissioner
that police mistakes "really impact on victims".
- Anna Leask, NZ Herald