New Zealand Police v RP [2016] NZYC 136

Published 26 October 2016

Youth offending — Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003, s 9 — mental health enquiry — Evidence Act 2006, ss 12A, 27 and 73 — evidential enquiry — Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act, ss 221 and 223. In these proceedings under s 9 of the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003, the Court had to be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the young person (RP) caused the act or omission that formed the basis of the offence with which he was charged before undertaking an enquiry as to mental impairment or fitness to stand trial. A number of the original charges were withdrawn by leave; the seven remaining charges were divided into the Papakura charges and the North Shore charges. The Papakura charges relating to allegations that RP had unlawfully interfered with motor vehicles, were dismissed as prosecution evidence did not meet the requisite standard. Police relied on a “spontaneous” statement made by RP after arrest and also a statement by a co-offender. In terms of RP’s spontaneous statement. For any statement made by a young person to be admissible, the prosecution must satisfy s 221 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act. In the absence of that section being satisfied, the only way statements are admissible is under s 223, which applies to oral statements made spontaneously by the child or young person before an officer has had a reasonable opportunity to comply with s 221. The Judge was not satisfied that RP understood his rights and thus the statement that he made in the police car was deemed inadmissible. The Judge found the statement of the co-offender to be unreliable, and therefore also inadmissible. The North Shore charges alleged RP unlawfully took a motor vehicle, that he was in possession of instruments for the conversion of motor vehicles, that he drove recklessly and that he failed to stop for police. The evidential enquiry was whether or not police formal statements provided a coherent chain of evidence that would indicate RP was involved. The Judge was satisfied that RP had been involved in taking the vehicle, failing to stop for police and reckless driving, but not satisfied on the charge of instruments for conversion. Judgment Date: 4 March 2016. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *