RULE OF POLICE, the Lovelock Affair

By his own admission, Auckland Detective Superintendent Andrew Lovelock (shown followed by his lawyer) ‘zealously’ protects the reputation of the NZ police.  This eager ambition and a Machiavellian approach to his ends have made him a darling in a hierarchy which thrives on unbridled loyalties.  Consequently, Lovelock has become a point man for police reactions to alleged police abuse, complaints to the Independent (sic) Police Conduct Authority and for media comment. Detective Andrew (Andy) Lovelock

Det. Super Lovelock portrays himself as the voice of independent inquiry and logic.  Unfortunately, Lovelock routinely gets elementary facts wrong.  Fortunately, his factual misrepresentations always fall on the side of the coppers.  As in 2012 when Lovelock’s investigation into the police shooting of Lachan Kelly-Tumarae determined the killing was justified.  Lovelock took a year, saying his inordinate delay was out of the necessity to be ‘meticulous’.  The meticulous Lovelock announced Tumarae had fired a shotgun at police.  He declared the death certificate was wrong to state Tumarae died immediately from the police inflicted wounds. He appeared on Close-up to say Tumarae had been shot once, arguing the other “12 holes” in Tumarae’s clothes were from “cigarette burns, tears” and from forensic testing.  He was later forced to concede these were all ‘errors’ despite his claimed meticulous approach to facts but insisted his consequent conclusion the police shooting was justified was still valid.

Four years ago, then Police Commissioner Howard Broad appointed Lovelock to re-assess the 40 year old murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe in response to public pressure by the Crewe’s orphaned daughter Rochelle.  Lovelock again did his best to instil ‘facts’ into this confirmed case of police corruption 40 years ago – where police Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton framed Arthur Alan Thomas for the murders.  Lovelock’s truth-obliterating report in July 2014 goose-stepped over a Royal Commission of Inquiry, a Court of Appeal Review and an independent legal review into the murders.

Lovelock and his dream scheme team, mindful Thomas had long been exonerated and awarded a rare $1 million as a victim of a wrongful prosecution, audaciously found “There is significant physical evidence linking the Thomas farm in Mercer Ferry Road, Pukekawa with the murders.  Notwithstanding, a re-investigation is not warranted…”.  He hoped repetition of the message and the sheer weight of his 328 page report would convince.   Lovelock did not determine all the prior investigations had lied.  He simply concluded they were less meticulous than he, finding in his meticulous way “whilst accepting the possibility that Police Exhibit 350 may represent fabricated evidence, the Review Team believes that the available evidence does not establish with certainty that it is definitely fabricated.”  That’s right; Lovelock was not certain of the definiteness.

Independent Counsel David Jones QC review of Lovelock’s report was also critical, concluding, “In my view there would have been sufficient evidence to have initiated a prosecution against Detective Inspector Hutton” adding, “The (1980) Royal Commission’s finding against him were damning and well-publicised.”

Chris Birt – the journalist who Lovelock conceded in his Report to be the definitive authority on the Crewe murders before rejecting the journalist’s research – saw his good work besmirched, and was incensed.  Arthur Thomas was more understandably incensed.  This topper-copper was dispensing porkies with abandon.  Birt responded with an article appearing this month in North & South magazine which details to those who care that Auckland’s top “detective” is a law and reality onto himself.  He considers Lovelock’s report was a devious attempt to placate Rochelle, whose greatest fear was that her grandfather may have been implicated in the unsolved crime.

Former MP Ross Meurant, a detective on the original case, called Lovelock’s report “a charade”.  He warned the “rule of police” was poised to contravene the Courts authority, comparing the threat with Nazi Germany of accepting Police findings into their own conduct as the last word.

So it is that this pathological “false fact teller” and self-admitted zealot is intent in discrediting the eminent authority Birt, a Royal Commission of Inquiry and even the independent counsel who reviewed his conclusions (prior knowledge that Mr Jones QC would dispute Lovelock’s publicised findings did not deter him).  “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer do not think”, wrote Adolph Hitler.