A convicted drug baron says police illegally intercepted phone calls he had with his lawyer, giving prosecutors unfair insights into his case.
Max John Beckham, a Northland businessman and farmer who led a double life as a druglord, has taken his case to the Supreme Court.
The Mangonui man is serving an 18 year jail term with a minimum non-parole period of nine years.
He was jailed for conspiracy to manufacture and supply methamphetamine and supplying meth, cocaine, cannabis oil and ecstasy.
The Supreme Court was told today that Beckham was locked up after some 220 hours of phone calls were tapped. His car and cellphone were bugged and he was arrested in December 2008.
He was a high-value target and police spoke publicly of their relief at Beckham being taken “out of circulation” when he was jailed.
Beckham’s lawyer Simon Mount told the Supreme Court that phone calls Beckham made to his then-lawyer Murray Gibson were intercepted, giving police insights into discussions that were legally privileged.
Mr Mount said it was “extraordinary” for senior police to authorise or tolerate surveillance of conversations that gave the prosecution a heads-up on the defence strategy.
“We’ve got material that is clearly subject to litigation privilege.”
It’s just jaw dropping isn’t it? The cops can record lawyer-client conversations and use their private defence strategies against them? If the bloody cops could bug lawyers conversations back in 2008, why the Christ did they need all those extra search and surveillance powers that Key rammed through? The ability to spy on lawyer/client privilege to empower a Police prosecution manages to break so many important legal protections, there is little point even bothering with the trial!
Let’s not forget, the Police only recently raided the home of Nicky Hagar even though Nicky had evidence on Police corruption that he was investigating.
The Police force seems to be trying on every front to continually push powers for their interests, not society’s.