12 Apr 2011

Officer acquitted of assault charges

7:37 pm on 12 April 2011

The defence lawyer for an officer found not guilty of assault is standing by his closing statement which suggested that police witnesses were unreliable.

Martin James Folan was accused of assaulting prisoners in his care in 2009 and acquitted on all six charges in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday.

Another charge of injuring a man, who had to have surgery to remove a testicle, was dropped during the trial.

The West Auckland sergeant denied all the charges, saying he only ever used reasonable force.

His lawyer, Richard Earwaker, says the officers who gave evidence against his client were unreliable, as they were under immense pressure, and may also have been acting out of self-preservation.

IPCA inquiry continuing

Sergeant Folan is still the subject of an investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

IPCA chairperson Justice Goddard says it was only right that Mr Folan was prosecuted, given the serious nature of the allegations.

The judge says the courage of officers who came forward to give evidence is to be commended - regardless of the trial's outcome.