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NSW Is It Police Harassment?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Harper, 22 October 2014.

  1. Harper

    Harper Member

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    Morning.
    Months ago, while out at a club for a badge draw, I was caught on video surveillance picking up a mobile phone that was left by someone. I didn't take the phone I put it down somewhere else after realising this isn't what I do and just carried on my night waiting for the numbers of the draw to be called. After a while, I was approached and asked about the phone but not willing to own up to theft I said no. I'm still saying no because I have no excuses for stupidity on my part for picking the damn thing up or for the person who left it behind.

    They even called my name out over the loud speaker and I went to not one but to two information desks to find out why they were calling my name out. Information desk didn't know what I was talking about. I was approached again and emptied out my bag contents still saying no I do not have the phone. After this I left asking if the draws have all finished I would be leaving.

    I was at this club for at least three hours. If I was a thief would I stay in a place this long to get caught? I don't think so. A report was lodged with police and I was phoned and told to go in. I have obliged by going to the station at least 3 times. The last time I went in, I left my name, number, address so that they knew I'd been in they can contact me if they need to. I have nothing to hide. Months have passed again and then I get a knock at the door, it's the police asking about this phone I'm seen on video I took it. I told them I don't have anybody's phone. They answer we'll get back to you. Again months pass, and here they come again at an inconvenient time for me to go in to station again. I have yet to go but before I do, can I say this is harassment? Seriously it's doing my head in.

    Can you advise me, do I need legal representation? Do I go to the station on my own?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Only with the correct story else take a lawyer. I know of a similar case where this happened and the item was never seen again (according to the owner of the device). This person went voluntarily into police station when requested by the police and was arrested when he turned up and charged with theft.

    Take this matter seriously, doubly so if you have any kind of previous conviction.

    Your case is not police harassment, more like police incompetence, at least at this stage. Better to go into the station than be arrested at home/work.

    It is quite possible that you mistook the phone as belonging to a friend or even thought it was your own and you put it back when you realised it wasn't. Your reason for picking up the phone in the first place is critical to your defence, get it right, particularly if you didn't put it back where you found it.

    Who approached you, and what did you tell them about the phone. Did you say anything other than you do not have the phone? What you said to this person may be very important and words and tone and sarcasm can be misinterpreted, particularly by security types (a sense of humour normally disqualifies people from working in security). Best you write your version of events asap and possibly speak with a lawyer before seeing the police. Some lawyers offer the first meeting free.
     
    CathL likes this.
  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    No, this is not police harassment. Being called in, under suspect for a crime and interviewed time and time again is unfortunately, extremely frustrating and yes, very inconvenient. As Rod said, it could be police incompetence. From what you have told above, it does not seem like something they would charge you on, however, do speak with a lawyer just in case. You can contact your local community legal centre and look into applying for legal aid if they do decide to charge you.
     
  4. Harper

    Harper Member

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    Hello Sarah,
    Thanks for the information, I have since been in to the station and firstly I would like to say that I wasn't arrested. They had stills of me from the camera footage they had so I couldn't really deny it wasn't me or that I didn't see the phone so I said yes its on camera. I'm likely to be charged for stealing even though I don't have the phone. I said I don't have an excuse for stupidity mine for picking it up and the owner for leaving it behind. They took a statement and the constable has to speak to her supervisor and phone owner and get back to me. In my defense I said back at that time I was using a lot of medication I'm only now starting to lessen what I was taking then for remission of cancer. I must say it was a big weight off my shoulders my son who I took with me said I did well and they're not gonna lock me up and throw away the key.
     
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you have not yet been charged. I hope this goes away peacefully. The police will need to go back and consider your statement and what evidence they have against you. Then they will need to ask the victim if she/he wishes to continue pressing charges given this evidence (or lack there of).

    Keep us updated on how it progresses. Best of luck.
     

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