Police back down from unlawful arrest, but will they actually take responsibility?



12 April 2024


Police back down from unlawful arrest, but will they actually take responsibility?  

Police have confirmed that they have dropped charges against Daniel Maxwell for breaching the peace. We defended Maxwell after he was wrongfully arrested for counter-protesting at a pro-Palestinian rally in November last year, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union. 

“While we are pleased the police have withdrawn these charges, they should never have been laid in the first place. This is one of three cases we are currently managing where we believe charges were used to silence legitimate speech. 

“Laying charges for ‘breaching the peace’ and then withdrawing them before they are assessed by the Court allows the Police to remove those exercising their speech rights from protests without having to account for their actions. 

“Police must arrest and charge those committing criminal activity, not those expressing opinions others dislike. This ‘catch and release’ pattern undermines the notion of the rule of law and has a chilling effect on free speech. It sends a dangerous message to Kiwis that it’s better to remain silent.  

“We understand from the Independent Police Conduct Authority that over 10 complaints have been laid in similar contexts over wrongful arrest. We are working with the Authority to address these concerns and seek confirmation that this tactic will no longer be used.

“Peaceful protest and counter-protest are crucial elements in a functioning democracy. It is vital that they’re respected and upheld by Police.”

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  • Nadia Braddon-Parsons
    published this page in Media releases 2024-04-12 14:34:00 +1200

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