Man pepper-sprayed, mistakenly arrested

Police have apologised to a man after he was pepper-sprayed and mistakenly arrested for a stabbing he did not commit in Central Dunedin yesterday.

Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond said the incident began at 12.40am when a vehicle collided with a parked car in Cumberland St.

"The male driver has become involved in a scuffle with the female owner of the parked vehicle, which resulted in him assaulting her.

"Another member of the public has come over to assist as a result, and the male has reacted by running towards that member of the public with a knife in his hand, before striking him in the upper arm, causing a small cut."

One of the people called police on their mobile phone before the driver allegedly took the phone and ran off. Snr Sgt Bond said police arrived, gathered a description of the driver and immediately began a search for him.

"During this time, we did locate a male that matched the description nearby, and he was in possession of a knife.

"He was pepper-sprayed when he refused to comply with police instructions.

"But once he was arrested and taken into custody, he was ruled out as being the suspect."

He was warned for being unlawfully in possession of a knife in a public place, before being released. Police also apologised to the man and it was explained to him why he had been arrested, Snr Sgt Bond said.

Undeterred, police continued to search for the driver.

"We did, however, continue with inquiries and located a 24-year-old male at a nearby central city Dunedin address and he has been arrested."

The man was charged with wounding with intent to cause reckless bodily harm, and robbery by assault.

Police were still investigating driving charges.

"We got there in the end. We’ve held someone accountable," Snr Sgt Bond said.