by: Joelle Dally
“A cock-up” – that’s how a police officer describes the investigation of Gordon Meyer in August, 2007, after a formal complaint was laid against him.
The police officer, who spoke to The Press on the condition of anonymity, said police had missed the opportunity in 2007 to get rid of Meyer.
Meyer was investigated after police received the formal complaint from a woman that Meyer had acted indecently towards her.
Meyer, a police officer for 19 years, also admitted indecently assaulting another woman by placing her hand on his groin and touching her breasts. Both victims have name suppression.
Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls said there had been insufficient evidence to prosecute Meyer in 2007.
He was confident the complaint had been looked in to and considered, adding that police had looked closely at the last 10 years of Meyer’s career as part of their recent investigation.
Nicholls rejected the notion that a culture of corruption existed among the country’s police.
“We have got 12,000 staff operating out of hundreds of locations around the country . . . and unfortunately we’ve had a few that let police down badly.
“It’s just hard to believe that he [Meyer] could think that he could get away with it. It’s criminally disgraceful conduct – I’m not trying to defend it for one moment.
“We do place a lot of trust in our staff and on this occasion he [Meyer] completely violated that.”
Meyer pulled over woman suspected of drink driving
Crown prosecutor Pip Currie told the court that at about 3am on September 15, 2011, a 23-year-old woman had been drinking at the Bush Bar on Riccarton Rd. She and a male friend left the bar in a vehicle about 1.25am.
Meyer, acting Sergeant at the time, was patrolling and followed the woman as she drove into Hansons Lane in Upper Riccarton.
He approached the vehicle and breath tested the driver. The result was over 400mcg/L – a roadside indicator she was drink driving. An exchange ensued, where she asked, “What other options do I have?”
Meyer said to her: “How about we sort it on a personal level.”
The victim queried the statement and he repeated it.
Victim suggested oral sex
She then suggested to go across the road with Meyer perform oral sex on him. They made an arrangement to meet later, when Meyer was not working, as her male friend was in the car.
Meyer then seized the car keys and gave the woman and her male friend a ride in the patrol vehicle to an address in Upper Riccarton, where the man went into the property. The woman stayed in the car, where she was “induced to expose her breasts”. She then went inside.
Meyer took the keys to the Christchurch police station, but did not call her. He returned to the house about 3.30am, but was met by another female, who told him the victim did not want any further contact with him.
Called victim 19 times
Meyer made 19 calls to her cellphone during the following month from several different phones – his home phone, cellphone, the acting sergeant’s cellphone and the police landline phones.
On September 16 he attempted to arrange a meeting with her. After this call, she stopped answering, or would hang up.
Second incident prompts ‘stalking’ complaint
On October 20, 2011, Meyer was on night shift in a patrol car, when he spotted the victim. She was a passenger in a car on Halswell Rd, which Meyer pulled it over. There was a short interaction.
That incident prompted her to make a complaint as she “held fears that she was being stalked,” Currie said.
Indecent assault on 18-year-old
The second charge relates to an incident in April 2011. The victim was an 18-year-old woman who met Meyer while he was on official police duties. She was in a hotel in Hornby on April 1, 2011, when Meyer offered her a ride in the patrol vehicle sometime after midnight to another bar.
Near Westfield Riccarton he pulled into Maxwell St. The victim asked what he was doing. He reached over, took her hand, placed it on his crotch area and tried to undo his zipper.
Girl was scared of Meyer
She pulled her hand away. He also placed his hand under her bra and made a sexual comment.
“She kept saying no. That interaction lasted about 30 seconds,” Currie said.
“She said she felt powerless as [he] was a police officer and [she] was scared of him.
Meyer also phoned her numerous times between April 8 and October 2011, and turned up while on duty to events involving her. He made sexual comments that “made her feel uncomfortable”, Currie said.
The victim had no idea how Meyer knew about the events.
Meyer has resigned and relocated
Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton said Meyer had tendered his resignation with the police.
Judge Graham Pankhurst lifted name suppression and remanded Meyer on bail for sentencing on December 19, at 9am. He asked for a pre-sentence report, including on his suitability for home detention.
Eaton said his client did not seek further name suppression and informed the court that Meyer had moved to the Bay of Plenty, where he still resided, since being charged.
Police minister condemns offending
Police Minister Anne Tolley this afternoon condemned Meyer’s offending and sought to reassure the public the case had been thoroughly investigated.
“This is a dreadful case and the victims should be given full credit for ensuring that this man was brought to justice,” Tolley said.
“I utterly condemn the actions of this man – for the effect he has had on his victims, and for abusing the trust that the public has in our Police.
“I am confident that Police act swiftly when there is any wrongdoing among staff members. I am also certain that the thousands of hard-working Police officers right across the country will be appalled at this case.”
Police set up 0800-line for more info on Meyer
Police Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls said he was “disgusted” by Meyer’s actions.
“This behaviour is disappointing, disturbing and disgusting and it simply won’t be tolerated.”
He said police welcomed the conviction, but many others may have information important to police’s ongoing investigation. A special 0800 number has been set up for people with information on Meyer to phone: 0800 223 370.
“We praise all of those who came forward and helped us, which has ultimately allowed us hold Mr Meyer to account and get justice for the victims. No-one should have to put up with the kind of disgraceful behaviour exhibited by this former officer, who abused his position of trust and hurt those who he should have been helping,” Nicholls said.
“There is no place for anyone who behaves like this within New Zealand Police. Our investigation still remains open and we encourage them to please come forward and speak with us.”
Nicholls said the police investigation team spent about 9000 hours on the case, and took more than 80 statements during the “complex and challenging” investigation.
“I am disgusted and appalled at Mr Meyer’s actions, which are not reflective of the attitude of the thousands of other police men and women who came to work each day to make our communities safer.”
Police Association reacts
Police Association president Greg O’Connor said Meyer’s offending was ”abhorrent to every police officer” and it had been dealt with the way it should have been by police.
Asked whether the public’s perception of police had been damaged in light of Meyer’s actions and the recent Roast Busters scandal O’Connor said: ”It would be better if nothing like this was happening.”
”What the public need to know is that when incidents or misbehaviour comes to light it is dealt with,” he said.
”The evidence is that they are dealt with very strongly whenever any of this behaviour comes to the fore.”
O’Connor said he had no dealings with Meyer.
This article was written by Joelle Dally and originally published on stuff