28 Feb 2019

Senior police officer found not guilty on four sex charges

5:01 pm on 28 February 2019

Northland senior police officer Detective Inspector Kevin Burke has been found not guilty of four counts of sex crimes against two women.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

The High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

Mr Burke, 60, has been cleared of two charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, and two of indecent assault.

After a trial that took almost three weeks, the jury took three hours to reach its unanimous decision.

Mr Burke left the court as soon as he was dismissed by the judge.

The Crown had alleged he sexually assaulted two vulnerable women in their own homes, after he met them in the course of his job.

But the defence had told the court both complainants were unreliable.

Mr Burke was stood down in April 2017 when the criminal investigation started.

He said now the trial is over he just wanted to spend time with his family.

Outside court, Mr Burke and his legal team said that the trial had taken a huge toll.

When asked about Mr Burke's future in the police force, his lawyer Arthur Fairley said they weren't thinking beyond today's result.

"No it's early days on that. We've been just concentrating on going through step one which is this trial and all our energies and thinking have gone into that."

Northland district commander Superintendent Tony Hill said police were waiting for the outcome of criminal proceedings before completing an employment investigation.

Mr Hill said that investigation would be finished in due course.

Detective Superintendent Chris Page said the complainants did the right thing in coming forward.

He said a thorough investigation of all the facts leads to the decision to charge, and the role of police is to put the best available evidence before the courts.

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