Friday, January 29, 2010

Not a night to remember - and didn't get to see ACDC anyway...


It was meant to be an experience to savour and a night to remember for 37 year old furniture removalist "Big John" from Lower Hutt. Nearly $180.00 spent to get a ticket to the ACDC concert last Friday night. He travelled to Wellington City with some of his mates and their girlfriends, had a few of the traditional pre-concert drinks and climbed the steps towards the concourse of Wellington Westpac Stadium.

That appears to be as far as the group got, John saw one of his mates knocked to the ground unconscious, another assaulted, and then become involved in a fracas with about five other men. A powerfully built former rugby and league player he held his own before police became involved and arrested him. He was handcuffed and tossed into the rear of a police paddy wagon, and the police just laughed at him, he claimed. He fell in the entrance well of the van, but because of his great strength was able to extricate himself and wait for the police to let him out. It seemed like a couple of hours he spent in the stifling heat of the van without any water, becoming dehydrated.

He was taken to the Wellington Central police station, arrested and put in a cell without pillows or blankets. After banging on the door of his cell for some time, he was spoken to by a policewoman who later contacted his mother. The policewoman rang John's mother and told her to come and collect him. She said he had been a very angry man, understandable given the circumstances. John is also normally a mild mannered man who didn't get involved in trouble or fighting; during his time as a footballer he seldom involved himself in onfield trouble, preferring to let the referee deal with offenders. He was deeply offended by the attack on his friends and the subsequent substandard treatment on him by the police. He has bruising on his wrists and other parts of his body. He was also arrested without his tee shirt.

John told his mother he had been arrested and would have to appear in court in a few weeks time. He also told her that he was not told his rights or allowed a phone call.

The following day, after being unable to receive any cooperation from the Wellington City police, John and his mother went to see the Lower Hutt police to complain about the treatment he had received the previous evening. They not only accepted his complaint, but have actually considered it as extremely serious, considering the treatment John had received. The complaint has been lodged and will continue.

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