Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An abuse of power

We accept drink-driving checkpoints on our roads because of the dangers posed by drunk driving. But rather than using them for that purpose, the police are using them to gather intelligence on elderly euthanasia advocates:

Wellington police may have used an alcohol checkpoint to gather information about elderly women attending euthanasia meetings.

The women had been attending an Exit International meeting on a Sunday afternoon early this month in the Lower Hutt suburb of Maungaraki.

As they left, about 4pm, all were pulled over at the checkpoint and – before being asked to blow into the machine – were made to give their names and addresses, and show their driver's licences.

In the days that followed, at least 10 of them received visits from police officers, asking questions about their association with Exit, a pro-euthanasia group.

If confirmed, this is very obviously an abuse of power. The police have these powers to enforce road safety - not to spy on those democratically advocating law change. Any use of them for an improper purpose is illegal and a violation of our rights against arbitrary detention and unlawful search. Any evidence gathered from them is fruit of the poisonous tree and must be discarded.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering which top cop's parent killed themselves to have the police devoting so many resources to this repressive campaign.