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Police win appeal in Alan Duff case

Published: 7:42PM Friday September 11, 2009 Source: NZPA

  • Alan Duff (Source: Sunday)
    Alan Duff - Source: Sunday

A High Court judge has upheld a police appeal over a District Court's acquittal of author Alan Duff on traffic charges, but ruled that the charges should remain dismissed.

Police had laid charges after Duff drove off while an officer called police communications to check his identity against computer records, after being stopped for speeding north of Taupo in September 2007.

Duff, who lives in France, was found not guilty in Taupo District Court in June last year.

Two further charges of resisting arrest were dropped with Judge Chris McGuire criticising police for laying them in the first place.

He dismissed the charges of failing to stop and failing to remain stopped.

Justice Paul Heath, in a decision released from Rotorua on Friday, said an officer was empowered to require a driver to remain stopped for as long as was reasonably necessary to undertake a query on any issues relevant to enforcement powers or duties under the Transport Act.

He found Judge McGuire erred in his interpretation of the law, but he was not prepared to interfere with the judge's decision to dismiss the charges.

"In the exercise of my discretion, I do not order a rehearing of the informations," he said.

The facts of the case did not justify another hearing and there was no clear evidence on the extent of inquiries undertaken by the arresting constable, he said.