29 Oct 2014

No charges in Roast Busters case

4:05 pm on 29 October 2014

No charges will be laid in relation to a group of Auckland teenage boys who boasted online about their sexual exploits with young girls, police have announced today.

The group, who called themselves the Roast Busters, were 17 and 18-year-old Auckland boys who boasted online about getting girls drunk and having sex with them.

The police have been investigating the group for the year, and have specifically looked at eight incidents involving seven victims and five suspects.

Officer in Charge Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus said no charges would be laid for a variety of reasons, including not enough chance of a successful prosecution, the wishes of victims, a lack of admissible evidence, the nature of the offences and the age of the victims.

Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus.

Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus. Photo: Kim Baker-Wilson/RNZ

All up, 110 girls were talked to, with five giving formal statements. However, a further 25 refused to give statements as they did not want to engage with police for fear of bullying and harassment by their peers, as well as the fear of being exposed in the media.

Malthus said she still had concerns for those 25 girls.

The police would not say what they believed the group's motives were.

Computers, smartphones, internet accounts and social media activity were all looked at during the investigation, Malthus said.

READ our previous stories on the Roast Busters case.

The investigation had highlighted that there was a poor understanding from those they talked to about what consent was, and the role alcohol played in negating the ability to consent.

The police were criticised early on in the investigation for saying no victims had come forward when, in fact, one had.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said he understood the decision not to prosecute would promote a range of reactions but that the victims had been the primary concern throughout.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority's (IPCA) first report into the investigation, which was released earlier this year, found there was a systemic communication breakdown.

It found one detective knew a complaint had been laid but failed to clearly convey that to colleagues answering media questions.

IPCA chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said police did not deliberately misled the media and no individual officer can be criticised, but the mistakes undermined public trust and confidence in the police.

This report was originally published on radionz.co.nz