6 Sep 2008

Dewar loses appeal over obstruction conviction

1:20 pm on 6 September 2008

Former Rotorua police officer John Dewar has lost his bid to overturn convictions for attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice.

Dewar was found guilty last year and jailed for four and a half years.

He was in charge of the Rotorua CIB when Louise Nicholas made rape accusations against police officers in the 1980s. The officers were later acquitted.

At a Court of Appeal hearing in August, Dewar's lawyer said a direction the trial judge gave to the jury prejudiced his chance of receiving a fair trial, and the sentence imposed was excessive.

However, in a judgement delivered on Friday, the court rejected those claims and ruled the convictions and sentence will stand.

The court also rejected another appeal ground concerning the Crown's failure to cross-examine Dewar about some evidence given against him.

In a dissenting judgement, Justice Baragwanath says he would have discharged Dewar on one of the counts against him.

However, the court has found that even if that had occurred it would not have affected the length of sentence imposed.