30 Oct 2014

No plans to change evidence storage

7:39 pm on 30 October 2014

The police have no plans to review systems for checking evidence in and out of police hands despite a former top cop today admitting stealing and dealing drugs stored at a police station.

Mike Blowers in court.

Mike Blowers in court. Photo: Northern Advocate

Earlier today, former Whangarei police officer Mike Blowers, 50, pleaded guilty in the High Court at Whangarei to stealing methamphetamine from police storage units and passing it on to a dealer for profit.

Blowers signed the meth out of the Whangarei Police Station for a day and returned it but it was later found to be cut with salt, its purity reduced from 89 to 28 percent.

In 2011, drugs stored at the Huntly police station went missing. However, an investigation had been unable to determine what happened to them and no one had been charged.

Despite both charges, Assistant Police Commissioner Allan Boreham told Checkpoint a nationwide review is not needed.

"There are systems and processes in place to make sure that we can have confidence in the system," he said.

"Obviously, though, and this is why we're incredibly disappointed, a level of trust is required. It's how we do business."

Mr Boreham was unable to explain what would trigger a nation review of how police dealt with seized drugs.

Arthur Fairley , defence lawyer for Mike 

Arthur Fairley Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

Blowers' defence lawyer Arthur Fairley said fresh evidence about who had handled the bag of meth his client was accused of stealing from Whangarei police station had come to light on Tuesday night.

Mr Fairley said after scrutinising that evidence, he advised Blowers to change his plea.

"It was evidence that affected the chain of where the methamphetamine moved from A to B to C," Mr Fairley said.

"As a result of that fresh evidence - which I stress was shown only to the defence on Tuesday evening - I told Mr Blowers that that was unanswerable."

The former detective sergeant - who led countless drug raids during his 20 years in the police - stood in the dock with his head bowed.

Mr Fairley said his client was aware of how many people he had disappointed, and was ashamed of himself.

"He was a serving police officer for an awful long time before he fell from grace. This is a human situation, it's not black and white, and he's dreadfully upset.

"He understands how he's let himself down, his family down and, importantly, his policing community down."

Blowers pleaded guilty to two charges: one of stealing the methamphetamine, and a representative charge of supplying a dealer over a period of 13 months.

The Crown dropped a third charge of supplying cannabis.

Blowers was released on bail under strict conditions, to appear for sentencing in four weeks.

The judge warned him to expect a number of years in prison.

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