21 Oct 2015

Couple plan to sue police over 1080 inquiry

2:12 pm on 21 October 2015

A Golden Bay couple is planning to sue the police over the way they were treated during the investigation into the 1080 blackmail case.

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1080 pellets. Photo: Supplied

Rolf and Ute Kleine said they wanted an apology, as well as compensation for damage to their property and a day of lost business, while they were detained at separate police stations during the search in March.

The Kleines, who are 1080 protesters, were among more than 60 people nationwide approached during the Operation Concord investigation, which ended recently with the arrest of a North Island businessman.

Mr Kleine said today that they were fine-tuning their statement of claim, which would be lodged with the Nelson court as soon as their lawyer signed it off.

Lawyer Steve Zindel said while it was accepted the police were dealing with an urgent situation, the level of intrusion and lack of apparent grounds for the search indicated the Kleines had a strong case.

Police had been asked for a copy of the search warrant, but it had not been provided.

Mr Kleine said on the day of the search, "three or four" police cars came down the driveway of their Pohara home early in the morning and took items, including paperwork and printed material about 1080. All the information was freely available but the police had declined their request for it to be returned.

"We asked them to give it back but they just took it and then they said when the case was closed they'd destroy it."

Mr Kleine said the detectives had search warrants for their house, car and Takaka cafe and bakery business. He and his wife were then taken separately to the Takaka and Motueka police stations.

"They said they had to take me to Motueka, where they detained me, and my wife had to go to Takaka police station. I was away all day - detained for eight hours and lost a day of business."

Public apology wanted

Mr Kleine said they wanted a public apology, and compensation to cover the cost of damage to the business and house during the search in which items were broken. They also wanted answers about whether there were reasonable grounds for their property to be searched, after police declined to explain at the time.

"I feel we do have a very good case, because there were no reasonable grounds to do this," Mr Kleine said.

A national headquarters police spokesperson said they would not discuss any specific individuals who Operation Concord may have sought information from, or the reasons they might have been of interest.

Police could search individuals and property under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, and they were obliged to comply with this legislation during the course of any investigation.

More than 2600 people were considered by the investigation team during the course of the inquiry, and they approached more then 60 "significant persons of interest for interview".

"We remain grateful for the co-operation we received from many of those individuals," the police said.

Anyone approached during Operation Concord who had concerns they wished to raise with police could do so by contacting the police directly, through a lawyer or with the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

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