Private prosecution against court security officer may be dropped

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Mat Olsson was accused of assaulting Wayne Burrows in the Palmerston North courthouse.

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Mat Olsson was accused of assaulting Wayne Burrows in the Palmerston North courthouse.

A senior court security officer has been caught at the “sharp end” of problems between the Ministry of Justice and a member of the public, a judge says.

But a chance of reconciliation between the ministry and a disgruntled man may mean the officer has an assault charge against him dropped.

Mat Olsson​ has been on trial in the Palmerston North District Court, Man takes private prosecution against court security officer over alleged assault
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“>accused of assaulting Wayne Burrows ​.

Burrows, who is running a private prosecution against Olsson, says he was assaulted in the Palmerston North courthouse in July 2017.

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* Man takes private prosecution against court security officer over alleged assault
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He went to file restraining orders against the ministry and police and said he was going to record an interaction with a registrar.

Security officers were called, Olsson – the court security officer team leader in Palmerston North – attended, words were said and requests for Burrows to leave were not heeded.

Olsson and another officer restrained Burrows before a police officer arrived.

Burrows was then manhandled out of the public counter area.

Burrows based his prosecution on the belief he was legally able to record in the courthouse and Olsson had no legal right to stop him recording.

Although section 11A of the Court Security Act specifically gives officers the power to tell people to stop recording, that section of the act did not exist at the time of the alleged assault.

The two-day judge-alone trial was adjourned part-heard on Tuesday after discussions between Burrows and ministry lawyers.

Judge Geoff Rea​ said Burrows’ main problem was with the ministry, not with Olsson.

Burrows had indicated he was happy to drop the case if his problems were resolved, and mediation was a better way to solve that than a trial, the judge said.

The prosecution process was “unfortunate” for Olsson.

“He has been placed at the sharp end of this,” the judge said.

The case will be called again in 2021, either for the charge to be dismissed or the trial to continue.



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