Wednesday, February 28, 2007

One slug over the line

For your viewing pleasure, today's page 3 booby in the DomPost:
Drink-driving disclosure unprofessional, says Laws
Britton Broun

Police revelations that a "prominent Wanganui identity" was caught drink-driving have sparked a flurry of finger-pointing and recriminations.

Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws is demanding an apology from police for releasing the information, saying that to do so was unprofessional and unethical.

"How many many male, urban, prominent people are there in Wanganui? - you could count them on two hands. The Palmerston North police have pointed the finger of suspicion at a minute section of the community with the suggestion someone among them drink-drives," he said.

The saga began when Palmerston North-based Senior Sergeant Nick Dobson publicly revealed that covert breath-test stops in rural Wanganui last week had picked up 14 people - one of whom was a male "prominent identity".

The man was blood-tested and, with results due late this week, could be prosecuted. Palmerston North traffic Sergeant Tony Romley suggested media watch the Wanganui District Court lists in the coming weeks.

Mr laws - who would not deny that he was the person because it encouraged public speculation - said it was unethical for Mr Dobson to make public statements before the blood-test results were in and an offence was even created.

"Drink-driving should not be a game, either for those partaking in such risky behaviour or for those apprehending them. the Palmerston North police should pull their heads in... and work on catching real criminals," Mr Laws said.

Mr Dobson said he could not make any further comment to the media yesterday but it is believed the person involved was not well known nationally.

central Districts road policing manager Inspector Neil Wynne could not say if Mr Dobson had been officially disciplined but confirmed he had been spoken to.

Mr Wynne had not spoken to Mr Romley yet, but said his comments, "if made by him", were even more inappropriate.
The official Wanganui District Council press release is here.