New Zealand Police v Norman [2018] NZDC 15000

Published 19 July 2019

Trespass — whether defendant vexatious complainant — whether police could lawfully order defendant off premises — whether defendant believed he had right to remain — Police v Brown [2015] NZDC 1540 — Heke v Police High Court Christchurch CRI-2008-409-000152 27 November 2008 — Rongonui v Police [2011] NZAR 128 — Police v Beggs [1999] 3 NZLR 615 — Hanna v Police [2012] NZHC 218 — Trespass Act 1980, ss 3 & 4. The defendant faced a charge of trespassing in a police station. He was notorious within the Auckland police force for his numerous encounters with police officers, for making serial complaints, and for his adversarial relationship with the police in general. The police had decided to label him a vexatious complainant and in an effort to manage his frequent requests for information and allegations of professional misconduct, had drawn up a management plan that required him to only contact police via the Police Professional Conduct Office, or to call 111 in the case of emergencies. He was to visit police stations by appointment only. The defendant had made clear to police that he considered these requirements illegal and that he would not comply with them. Some eleven months later the defendant went to a police station and was waiting in line when the station commander reminded him of the management plan and asked him to leave the station. The defendant refused and was arrested for trespass. The station commander then learned that the defendant had called 111 to complain of an online threat to kill, and that the 111 operator had directed him to make a complaint at a police station. The Court found that the police did have the power to trespass people from police stations, but that the defendant was not being disruptive, loud or disorderly prior to being asked to leave. Further the station commander had not tried to find out why the defendant was at the police station and whether he had a genuine complaint before asking him to leave. Therefore the police had not properly exercised their power to trespass. The Court found that, in these circumstances, the charge of trespass was not proved. Judgment Date: 20 August 2018. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *