A "manipulative" police officer has been jailed for 22 months
for indecently assaulting teenage girls at alcohol-fuelled
Hawkes Bay police officer Adam Dunnett, 38, was found guilty
last month of six sex charges by Judge Les Atkins following a
week-long, judge alone trial at the Napier District Court.
A police spokeswoman confirmed the disgraced officer has now
resigned from the New Zealand Police in the wake of the
Dunnett, a Flaxmere community constable and surf life saving
coach, initially faced 10 counts of indecent assault against
five complainants, all older than 16 at the time, but four of
the charges were dismissed.
In an emotional victim impact statement, one of the teenagers
addressed Dunnett during today's Napier sentencing.
"If you have half a heart Adam the words I am about to say
will hopefully haunt you for the rest of your life, as your
actions have haunted me for mine.
"I thought we had a great friendship Dunnett, I really did.
"How am I meant to trust another cop again?
"Where is your moral compass, obviously you don't have one."
Another victim told the court Dunnett had "put me through
hell just to find justice".
"I find it very hard to trust men in my life now.
"I should be able to trust the police but it is hard now ...
It will stay with me for the rest of my life."
She said the trial was difficult as she was forced to watch
Dunnett "sitting there thinking you'd done nothing wrong".
"You made me hate my body and myself, and I hate what you did
to those other girls."
A third asked: "How am I supposed to trust the police when
one police officer has done this to a number of other girls?"
A fourth victim had her statement read out to the court by a
victim support manager.
"You felt like you deserved to get away with it," the
"You made me out to be a slut ... You have tainted my opinion
of older men and police officers."
The fifth victim declined to make a statement to the court.
Dunnett's lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, read out a good character
reference from former Junior All Black Pat Benson QSM, who
was sitting in the public gallery.
He said Mr Benson had known Dunnett since the police officer
was 14 and was not the man portrayed during the "snap shot"
of the court case.
"It is not a true account of the person he really is," the
Mr Krebs said the "huge, high profile public shaming" was a
mitigating factor and had been a significant punishment for
Judge Les Atkins said Mr Krebs mentioned Dunnett was
"otherwise a valued member of the force", but the key word
"Your actions for what you are being sentenced here today for
have undermined anything you had done."
He said Dunnett had displayed "appalling judgement".
Judge Atkins accepted that Dunnett had in fact said the now
infamous line to two of his victims. That he was a cop and no
one would believe the drunk, teenage girls.
In a written decision last month, Judge Atkins said Dunnett
was "inclined to be manipulative" and was capable of
distorting the truth "to achieve his own ends".
In total, five different incidents occurred between May 2011
and New Year's Day 2013, four at the Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf
Life Saving Club and one at the Taradale Fire Station.
One of the incidents involved Dunnett indecently assaulting a
girl at a February 2012 Ocean Beach toga party, when he
rubbed his genitals against her.
The judge said the police officer's testimony had an "air of
artificiality", after stating one of the victims at an
October 2011 Ocean Beach party had asked him to have sex with
her 20 to 25 times.
It was also during that toga party that Dunnett allegedly
uttered: "You are drunk, I'm a cop. No one's going to believe
At the same party Dunnett grabbed another teenage girl's
breast as she slept and during the trial he offered the
explanation that he had been "looking for his sleeping bag".
Dunnett admitted during the trial that he twice touched a
"playful and flirty" teenager's breast during another
incident, a surf club party in December 2011, but was
convinced it was "consensual".
Mr Krebs argued throughout the trial that the complainants
were voluntarily participating or consenting to sexual
behaviour with Dunnett and that several witnesses were
unreliable due to high levels of alcohol consumption.
Before his resignation, Dunnett had been suspended on full
pay since his arrest last year.
- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today