30 Oct 2014

Call to review sex case prosecutions

5:58 am on 30 October 2014

The Green Party says the decision not to press charges in a high-profile teenage sex ring case in Auckland highlights systemic failures.

Metiria Turei.

Greens' co-leader Metiria Turei says a judicial overhaul of sexual violence cases is needed. Photo: RNZ

Despite a year-long investigation, police yesterday announced no charges would be laid in relation to a group of Auckland teenage boys who boasted online about getting girls drunk and having sex with them.

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse sought assurance from the Police Commissioner that the investigation was conducted well and was comprehensive.

"I have been in contact with him over the last month or so as the investigation has unfolded," he said.

"I've asked for confidence that the welfare of the young women is being considered and also that all information that's necessary to make the decision is being gathered, and I certainly got that assurance."

Michael Woodhouse

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

Mr Woodhouse said he hoped that the outcome did not discourage other young victims of sexual violence from approaching police.

Police said there were a variety of reasons for not laying charges, which included not enough chance of a prosecution, wishes of victims, lack of admissible evidence and the nature of the offences and age of the victims.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the problem is the criteria for pressing charges is whether or not the case will succeed and this illustrates the need for a judicial overhaul of sexual violence cases.

"When only one percent of sexual assault proceed then it is obvious that the criteria does not work," she said.

"The Government stopped the Law Commission's work on pre-trial assesment and processing of sexual violence cases and that work must be re-started."

Annette King.

Annette King Photo: LABOUR PARTY

Labour's acting deputy leader Annette King, a former police minister, said the decision not to prosecute is very disappointing.

"The whole handling of this case has been disappointing - there were delays and young women did lay complaints, but somehow the police did not have them.

"It's very disappointing in that I thought the police were making great progress in terms of handling sexual abuse cases and sexual violence cases, and I think this is going to let a lot of young people down when they see that no prosecution is going to take place."

Despite charges not being laid in the case, police said there is no time limit for reporting sexual offending - leaving the way open for future action.

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