20 Mar 2009

Police deny being blackmailed over missing camera

5:11 pm on 20 March 2009

Police deny they were blackmailed into writing to a judge in return for getting a missing camera back.

A digital camera containing sensitive photographs, including those of seven domestic violence victims, was left at a Lower Hutt property after a drugs raid in December 2008.

Police publicly admitted the matter on Thursday after a Lower Hutt man made approaches to the media about the pictures, which had been downloaded before the camera was returned.

A letter was sent by police to a district court judge ahead of the sentencing of the man's uncle on firearms and drugs charges.

Superintendent Pieri Munro has defended the letter, saying it was not unlike submissions that the police often make to court.

Meanwhile, police say they have now spoken to everyone connected to images on the camera, including the family of a person whose body was photographed, and victims of domestic violence.

They have also contacted the owners of five vehicles shown in images.

An investigation into how the camera was lost and its recovery is continuing.

On Wednesday, police admitted that a confidential document was left at a gang house in Lower Hutt raided by officers.

The report was left at a state house in Pomare which was occupied by the Mongrel Mob.

The house was raided on 11 February as part of a Housing New Zealand eviction process.

The document detailed which officers were carrying weapons, and what types, as well as where they were deployed.

Housing New Zealand also "mistakenly" left confidential information at a state house while serving eviction papers on the tenants on 3 March.