Police interrogation techniques just bullying vulnerable people into false confessions

We have blogged relentlessly on the Lois Tolley murder case on The Daily Blog because we believe that what has been revealed about the corrupted police prosecution process suggests Police simply seeking weak people to bully into confessions.


This is so outrageous and is the biggest story that flew under the radar in 2022…

Confusion reigns over controversial police technique after top officer’s bungle

A bungle by police over whether they were halting the use of a controversial interviewing technique that extracted a false confession from a murder suspect has led to confusion, and backtracking by a senior officer.

Last week, Detective Inspector Steve Anderson emailed senior police staff telling them that use of the Complex Investigation Phased Engagement Model (CIPEM), also known as PEACE Plus, was being suspended indefinitely while a wide-ranging national review of all police interviewing practices and training was carried out.

The announcement came amid an investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into complaints about CIPEM, and followed a year-long Stuff investigation into CIPEM that revealed the extent of the technique’s use, and widespread concerns about it.

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CIPEM was created by recently retired Detective Superintendent Tom Fitzgerald to crack cold cases, and aimed to get suspects who had previously refused to speak to talk with police.

…we have blogged relentlessly on the Lois Tolley murder case on The Daily Blog because we believe that what has been revealed about the corrupted police prosecution process suggests Police simply seeking weak people to bully into confessions.

With the recent litany of miscarriage of justice cases, seeing the inside of a corrupted police interrogation process happening in real time now suggests the Police have learned NOTHING from the mistakes and failures of the past, which is what we have been promised  every time one of these miscarriages of justice get exposed.

Look at how the NZ Police bullied false confessions out of people in the Lois Tolley murder case…

Police are refusing to release a review of the controversial investigation into the murder of Upper Hutt woman Lois Tolley, sparking accusations that they are covering up serious misconduct.

Tolley, 30, was shot point-blank in her home in December 2016, in what police described at the time as “an execution-type killing”.

After an extensive investigation, named Operation Archer, three men were eventually charged in 2019 with her murder.

But the charges against all three men, who have name suppression, were dropped by police last year, before the case went to trial, with a judge commenting: “There is presently really no evidence against any of them.”

…It is unacceptable in the extreme for the Police to not release this investigation into what went wrong with this case!

To have gotten prosecution this far advanced without any actual evidence because the police interrogation technique was so corrupted is gasp inducing in its conclusions…

This followed revelations that one of the accused had falsely confessed to the murder, after police used a contentious interviewing technique, the Complex Investigation Phased Engagement Model (CIPEM).

…the whole case became so tainted with the inclusion of jail house narks and unreliable witnesses that there had to be an investigation into how badly Police screwed up…

High Court Justice Simon France said the man, known as X, had been manipulated by the detectives interviewing him, who had broken numerous fundamental rules of interviewing, and X’s “confession” was flawed and not credible.

The case against the other two men collapsed for separate reasons, largely related to the unreliability of key witnesses – including a woman twice charged with perverting the course of justice, and jailhouse informants with numerous convictions for dishonesty, who told conflicting stories.

In a rare move, police subsequently appointed Auckland King’s Counsel and former Crown prosecutor Aaron Perkins to undertake “an independent review of aspects of the police inquiry”.

…the corruption of credible evidence and process was so extreme that there had to be an independent inured into how the fuck it got this far.

Turns out we won’t be allowed to know because the Police are now refusing to release the report…

However, police refused to release the terms of reference for Perkins’ review, making it unclear which parts of the failed investigation were being looked at and whether he was considering why the case collapsed against all three defendants, or just X.

Perkins’ review was completed in August.

But police are now refusing to release the report, or even a summary of its findings, saying it is “confidential and legally privileged”.


Yet it manages to get worse!

The defence lawyers of the men falsely set up using jailhouse snitch ‘evidence’ and this weird Complex Investigation Phased Engagement Model (CIPEM) have all complained about tactics used by Police that are absolutely outside the law, like with holding evidence that proves their client innocent!

Wintour said that during the investigation, police deliberately hid material from him until the last minute that suggested his client wasn’t involved in the murder.

Yet it manages to get worse!

The refusal to release the report follows continued efforts by police to withhold material relating to the Lois Tolley investigation and the CIPEM interviewing method.

Stuff has twice been forced to get court judgments in order to obtain access to relevant documents.

It also comes after the retirement of the country’s top investigatorand architect of CIPEM, Detective Superintendent Tom Fitzgerald, earlier this month.

Fitzgerald was closely involved with the interviews of X, but he insisted CIPEM wasn’t to blame for mistakes made by the interviewing detectives and said his retirement had nothing to do with scrutiny of the technique.

So the model being used allows Detectives to lie, bully and manipulate false confessions and the Detective Superintendent who created this model used in the Lois Tolley case, originally claimed the Detectives misused the model and it had nothing to do with him, when it turns out that wasn’t true and that he was actually monitoring the interview from a seperate room and was advising during the interview.

Yet it manages to get worse!

Detective Superintendent Tom Fitzgerald also was responsible for that other great questionable miscarriage of justice case, the murder of Olivia Hope and Ben Smart.

Based on what we currently have in front of us with this case and the recent miscarriages of justice cases of Peter Ellis, Teina Pora,  David Lyttle, Mauha Fawcett and Alan Hall you get a terrible feeling that Police are not following the evidence in case, but are merely rounding up the most vulnerable suspects and bullying confessions out of them or twisting the evidence to fit the crime.

What is happening here is a can of very sick and toxic worms are being ripped open while the medias attention is on the petty and vacant.

What is being exposed here is a rotten process that reeks of corruption. I once thought that maybe as much as 5% of the prison population might be innocent, after looking at what has been starkly revealed in this police interrogation process, I think that number might be closer to 30% of the prison population being innocent.

What has been revelled here calls into question fundamental values of justice and Policing in a. democracy. The total lack of wider attention this case and the questions it raises must be addressed.

Of course, in all of this is the whanau of Lois Tolley, whose murder has not been solved and whose family can not rest.

Lois Tolley and her family deserved far better than this debacle.

Our justice system demands higher levels of professionalism than this shambles.

And our Police force should be ashamed.

With Detective Superintendent Tom Fitzgerald suddenly quitting this year from his role with Police, I think an urgent independent review of his previous cases is required and the media should be calling for it.


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  1. Lying to suspects is actually illegal in New Zealand, far too much of the language around this case is pussyfooting – “a contentious interviewing technique”, it’s not, it’s straight up illegal – and all of the officers involved should be facing criminal charges. Whether or not they’re still officers.

  2. variation on good cop/good cop with added KFC.

    IT’S the targeting of easy (not neccesarly guilty subjects) we’re back to ‘his eyes are too close together he must have done it…shit he’s got a hairlip what more evidence do you need.’
    The only question is are NZ police malicious or incompetent or a mix of the two? and what is the quality of recruits and training these days?

  3. One must legally divulge: Name. Address. Occupation.
    Then? Say nothing until your lawyer is present. But be polite.
    Unless, you’re homeless, unemployed and you’re so fucked up you can’t remember your name. Then, and only then, are you truly fucked.
    And again, then, if a measure of society is balanced against how we best treat our most vulnerable? We’re doubly fucked. All in all, I’d say we’re all fucked. Unless you’re rich, of course.
    Isn’t it interesting, that the further away we get from our basic humanity, by becoming ever richer usually, the less humane we become. Is that how the ‘They’, the rich ‘Them’, can do what they do to us and by that I mean exploit us.

  4. Let’s hope Fitzgerald decides on a Mr Green franchise or Uber driving rather than having the good ole boys arranging a gig for him elsewhere in the public service. I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter was already in train

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