NEED BETTER WORK STORIES
Posted On: Thursday, 28 February 2008
NEED BETTER WORK STORIES?
28 February 2008
The twelve Police detectives who laid siege to the Gulf Harbour home of Vince and Jane Siemer at 7.00 am Thursday morning 21st Feb 2008 can add the intimate details they learned of this family's personal lives to their Friday nights out on the town with mates.
Seven police vehicles pulled up for the early morning search warrant. Vince and Jane were met at the door of their bedroom and spirited away to separate areas of their home while no fewer than 10 detectives rummaged through every aspect of their property and lives. A further two uniformed officers stood guard at the gate.
While still in their pyjamas, the female detective asked Jane why she was "protecting" her husband and probed whether there was anything she wanted to share with the detective. Meanwhile, Vince was taken to the patio where two male detectives repeatedly told him they were now
"in control of the house" and they would have questions for him as soon as they made some notes. Siemer's thirteen year old daughter was accompanied to her bedroom by a CYFS (Child Youth and Family) officer to help her prepare for school.
When Vince attempted to go inside the house to join his wife in the lounge, the detectives forced Jane and their daughter to another part of the house. All were kept away from the front door where carloads of their property were being boxed and carted away, with absolutely no idea of what the police were taking.
Incoming and outgoing phone calls were prohibited. Cell phones were immediately seized. The CYFS worker ensured their daughter was not taking a cell phone to school with her.
Prohibited from getting dressed for five hours, Vince Siemer was told he was only allowed a coffee (in his own home) once he answered Detective Stan Brown's questions. In the meantime, detectives half Siemer's age paraded by him in his pyjamas and repeatedly addressed him by his Christian name. The lengthy time was spent by Det Brown and another detective named 'Reese' repeatedly waxing poetic about how much 'integrity' means to them.
What prompted this massive police seige? The search warrant itself sought evidence relating to any communication Vince Siemer had with any of the defendants or their lawyers in the ill-fated (and since dropped) terrorist charges last October. Detectives were also looking for a copy of the Police Affidavit used to initiate the terrorist charges, and believed to be in Siemer's possession. Some 5,000 New Zealanders have seen this publicly-filed affidavit used to lay the bogus terrorism charges, despite an Auckland Judge having declared this affidavit suppressed. Photos taken at the Whangaparaoa Library purport to show Mr Siemer entering the library to email one of the defendant's lawyer. The police immediately confiscated Mr Siemer's library card as Exhibit one. Why an entire police force was needed to officially confiscate a library card is evident only when you see the long list of items taken which have nothing to do with the search warrant.
A neighbour sought to explore with the police at the gate whether the Siemers were okay and to speak with them. The Police refused, instead asking the neighbour for his name and address and jotting down his car license. Another family friend - a former police officer - came to the gate 4 hours into the siege and also asked to speak to the Siemers. She did not accept the police line that this was not allowed and was eventually allowed to speak with the Siemers.
While the search warrant called for retrieval of evidence of Mr Siemer's communication with defendants, their lawyers and the document "NZPOLICEAffidavit.pdf", the real purpose became apparent 7 hours later when the Siemers were left to clean up the resultant hurricane and assess the damage. No record was left of what the Police took. What is known to have been taken, in addition to all computers and cell phones, were three printers, a fax machine, copier, legal files, www.kiwisfirst.co.nz corporate files, cameras, CD's, DVD, memory sticks, audio-equipment, clothes and password and login information to all the Siemer's on-line accounts (Det. Brown joked that if a sizeable bank withdrawal to the Orewa Police Social Fund showed up the Siemers could complain about this security information being seized).
It is noteworthy that Police can get any Justice of the Peace to sign a search warrant. Det. Brown said the Orewa Station alone executes 100 search warrants a year. In the Siemer's case, an unidentified "Deputy Registrar" of the District Court signed the search warrant. Apparently, no judge wanted to put their fingerprints on this home invasion.
While the Police had no personal conflict with unlawfully detaining the Siemers personally (not a provision of the search warrant), they repeatedly stressed their emphasis on 'integrity' and that they were only doing their job. Perhaps, but it is reasonable to assume that unlawful detention is something they would have been taught before being made detectives.
The next day, Siemer called Det. Sgt Stan Brown (a.k.a Kevin Brown) to inquire what happened to his extensive property. He was told that all the electronics were being 'cloned'. Despite Det Brown stating the day before that the un-inventoried property would be returned the next day, Brown changed this to the following Monday (maybe).
As twelve detectives spent the day checking what the Siemers keep in their medicine cabinet and crawling through their attic, the irony struck Vince Siemer of how he could not get one Police officer to simply write a report when one of his investment properties was burglarised 5 years ago. This is a Police experience a great many Kiwis can relate to. No doubt there was a search warrant being executed somewhere else on the day.
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