Craig George Whithey

by Patrick O'Brien

Kiwis would be shocked to learn the annual cost of secret payments by the Crown to victims of corruption in New Zealand police:

These secret payments not only go to cover-up cases of bumbling incompetence by police, but also malicious prosecutions — one recent example being that of CRAIG GEORGE WITHEY who received a secret payment of $160,000 dollars following an undercover operation he was the victim of.

The actual dollar amount is significant in this case for reasons which I’ll come back to in a moment.

In brief, Mr Withey was rounded up during raids following the termination of an undercover operation in the Wairarapa and charged with a number of drug offences. Unfortunately for Mr Withey, the police arrested the wrong man; a simple case of mistaken identity.

However, rather than admit their mistake, withdraw the charges and apologise, police decided to proceed with their prosecution of this innocent man and altered the evidence to suit — even going so far as changing the descriptions of the original suspect on their job sheets to match that of Mr Withey, right down to his tattoo markings.

Fortunately for Mr Withey, his defence team noticed the differing job sheets and, at trial, while under cross examination, the undercover agent was caught in his lies.

Withey was discharged and then took legal action against the Crown for malicious prosecution. He won!

The Crown appealed this result, and, before the case returned to hearing, made a secret payment of $160,000 to cover-up the matter.

This dollar amount is instructive because the figure exceeds what any head of department is authorised to make. A payment for this amount would need be approved by Cabinet — which is to say the New Zealand Government was complicit in covering up the corruption.

No action was taken against the officers involved and their undercover agent has been promoted. He remains employed by New Zealand police.

See also
The USED Group:

From decision of Judge A.P. Christiansen

Palmerston North District Court
Between Craig George Withey (applicant)
And the Queen (respondent)
CASE FILE:   T.44/94

JUDGEMENT — Withey v Queen (PDF 2.6 MB)


● Reference to clarify any confusion as to the identity of this writer . . .