21 May 2015

Judge dismisses charges against Nelson gang

7:11 pm on 21 May 2015

A High Court judge has thrown out a range of drug charges against members of Nelson's Red Devils motorcycle gang.

Twenty-one members were facing charges that have now been quashed because of a botched undercover investigation.

In the High Court in 2012, Justice Simon France dismissed the charges because of police misconduct, which included faking a search warrant and having an undercover officer appear in court under a false name.

Lawyer Tony Bamford represents one of the 21 accused gang members, and said the ruling by Justice Collins sent a strong message to police that the court cannot be utilised as part of their investigation techniques.

The Court of Appeal subsequently reinstated the charges but in a judgement issued today, Justice Collins has again dismissed the charges.

He said continuing with the trial could suggest the courts condone the misconduct, which was not the case.

Justice Collins said the courts must protect the criminal justice system from being degraded and misused.