Update on the New Zealand Police Rape Case

When I stopped guest blogging Amp kindly said that I could post any further updates about the police rape case that I had been writing about. There hasn’t actually been a major development in the police rape case, but some information that had previously been suppressed is now able to be talked about.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about I wrote a summary a couple of months ago. The short version is that one of New Zealand’s assistant police commissioners* stood trial for rape, alongside two of his former police buddies. They were found not guilty after a three week trial where it was sometimes hard to figure out who the media thought the defendent was (it was called the ‘Louise Nicholas trial’ – even though trials are usually named after the defendents).

I knew, I think a lot New Zealanders knew, that there was more than one accusation of rape against these men. That they were basically using their badges (and their batons) to rape and abuse women with impunity.

There is still a lot of suppressed information in this trial, including information that the jury isn’t allowed to know. Immediately after the verdict some of this suppressed information was posted on my blog. I was then told then that there weren’t just more accusations; there were going to be more trials. That there was a real possibility that the breaches of suppression orders could lead to the judge throwing out the charges against these men, on the grounds they couldn’t get a fair trial.

I took down information breaking the suppression order on my blog, and on Alas. I believed that any woman who wanted to try and get justice through the court system deserved that right. While I believed that the information I had published would not prevent a fair trial – the judge might.

The fact that there were more trials was also suppressed, and I was told that even mentioning future trials could lead to the rapists’ lawyers arguing that Bob Schollum, Brad Shipton and Clint Rickards weren’t going to be able to get a fair trial (I never did understand that argument, presumably the jury would know there was another trial – because they were at it). So I couldn’t even explain why I was taking the information down.

Now part of the suppression order has been lifted and so I was able to say that they are going to stand trial for at least one more set of sex charges. I don’t know if it’s just the one more trial, there could be more than that. I don’t know how many women these men raped, but I do know that it’ll be less than the number of rapes that they’re charged with.

There are a number of women who have fought to take on the entire police system and expose a systematic culture of rape and abuse. The police officers who were investiagting their complaints were mates of the men who raped them. Finally, two decades after the fact, some of these cases are coming to trial. That the woman whose case is going to be heard next is prepared to proceed, even after watching how Louise Nicholas was treated is a testimony to her strength.

* Policing is centralised in New Zealand, so this is sort of the equivalent of the Deputy Commissioner of the FBI being charged with multiple counts of rape.

Note this thread is for feminists and pro-feminists only.

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11 Responses to Update on the New Zealand Police Rape Case

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  3. 3
    Helen says:

    Hi Maia, good to see an update.

    Quick correction: I don’t know how many women these men raped, but I do know that it’ll be less than the number of rapes that they’re charged with. – should read “more than”, yes?

    One of the things that has me the most angry about this whole situation is the strong reactions of people who are normally on the “question the victim because women lie about rape” side. Most people are like that – talking about the rape victim and what she was wearing and so on, as feminists are all too well aware. However, in this case almost everyone who was questioning Louise’s integrity and so forth has done a total turn-around (upon the leaking of the suppressed info). They are furious and totally believe the Rickards/Schollum/Shipton are guilty as sin. That is so frustrating, because you just know that the next time a rape trial is highly publicised, they’ll be back to focusing on the victim’s sins. Certainly, people may be more aware of the issues of suppressed evidence but in the long run I don’t see people changing to look at the accused rapists. A woman’s word and other evidence is never enough – only when it comes out that the men were already convicted rapists do people start to think “hey now, I guess they did do it.”

    Urgh, rage.

  4. 4
    ANdy says:

    Hi. Is there any law against setting up a website of convicted NZ rapists being named and pictured on a website for the public to use? Tks.

  5. 5
    Sailorman says:


    You’ll probably have to find a NZ lawyer who knows your local libel statutes to answer that one.

  6. 6
    Kathy says:

    The Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.
    Yes one of the women that is me, well all i have to say is it turn my life up side down again and did they care about that NO.Just a job to them, the women were fulling apart and they new it. My point is who do you trust and my answer is no one.

  7. 7
    Kathy says:

    Kathy wrties. Why is my comment awaiting for moderation?

  8. 8
    Kathy says:

    Andy, yes there is, yes is wrong.

  9. 9
    anony says:

    Don’t know if you spotted the small call for some submissions regarding a Review of the 1958 Police Act Kathy??

    I only saw one very very small media release on 5 December concerning “Issues paper 8: Conduct and Integrity” – and of course the closing date is 31 January 2007!!



    Sadly I just keep looking at their questions – and just know I am totally lost for words now Kathy i.e. I don’t even know what to say to them as just so disillusioned now with NZ Police and many other agencies :(

  10. 10
    Radfem says:

    We just had a deputy where I live slapped on the wrist. Multiple rapes and he exposed himself and sexually harassed an elderly woman. He got a little over a year on a plea bargain for indecent exposure, but that’s more than most in his situation get which is often nothing.

    Administratively, the confidentiality laws are the strictest in the United States so it’s difficult to find out if the officers get fired.

  11. 11
    Maddy says:

    Keep strong Kathy.