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Report on the shooting of Steven Wallace

16 August 2000

As you will no doubt have heard by now, the report of the police investigation into the shooting of Steven Wallace was released today. The police officer who shot Steven will not be charged, the conclusion of the report is that he acted lawfully in self defence. We will send out an outline of some of the reactions to the report tomorrow; and a summary of the report itself in the next couple of days, along with any statements which have been issued by Stevenís family by that time.

In the meantime, reports are coming in from the mainstream media that tensions are running high in Waitara - hardly surprising given that Stevenís family and friends have been waiting fifteen and a half weeks to find out why Steven was killed, when justice might be done and be seen to be done, and what will be done to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

Police reinforcements have been sent to Waitara from New Plymouth. Our contacts in Waitara report that the community have organised themselves in practical ways to cope with the effects of the report being released. Although outraged, people are working hard to maintain calmness - but this is not being helped by the increased police presence.

Tonight, if you wish, you could contact the offices of Helen Clark and George Hawkins and tell them you expect them to ensure that police officers in Waitara will exercise the utmost restraint and refrain from any behaviour which might in any way provoke an already tense situation in the coming days and weeks.

Their contact details are: George Hawkins, Minister of Police, office - tel (04) 470 6563, fax (04) 495 8464; Helen Clark, Prime Minister, office - tel (04) 471 9998, fax (04) 473 3579.

Following is todayís media release from George Hawkins.

16 /8 /2000 - Hon George Hawkins

Waitara Homicide Inquiry

Minister of Police Hon. George Hawkins has been briefed on the Police inquiry into the death of Steven Wallace.

The Police investigation into the shooting in Waitara of Steven Wallace on Sunday 30 April 2000 has found the police officer involved acted lawfully.

"The report presents detail of the circumstances of events that led to Mr Wallace's death. The report also offers an insight into what happened in the early hours of 30th April," George Hawkins said.

"I am mindful that today the family of Steven Wallace will be grieving. Many in the Waitara community and further afar will share in their grief.

"I respect such feelings. It is tragic that a family has lost a loved one. I wish to extend my sympathy to the whanau and everyone involved in the tragedy.

"The homicide investigation has been subjected to the considered legal opinion of the Deputy Solicitor General and a legal review process conducted by the Crown Law Office.

"Based on the findings of the investigation and in the opinion of the Deputy Solicitor General (criminal), the constable at the centre of the investigation acted lawfully.

"I have confidence in the Police investigation and in the analysis of the Deputy Solicitor General.

"It is evident that the homicide inquiry into the death of Steven Wallace has been thorough.

"I am mindful that a Police Complaints Authority investigation, and a Coroner's Inquest are ongoing. I reserve my comments on that until the conclusion of those inquiries.

"Today, it is right, that we look to the future, learn from this tragedy, and move to heal the strains that have been exposed," George Hawkins said.

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