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Lawyer challenges validity of search after he claims police roughed him up
13 April 2017
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A New Zealand lawyer is challenging the validity of his arrest and search claiming he was subjected to police brutality.

Christchurch lawyer Steven Welch Rollo is on trial in the Christchurch District Court accused of possession of a class A drug. The case against Rollo is that police found two bags of methamphetamine in his motorcycle jacket pocket and his jeans pocket during a routine traffic stop in July last year.

The police officer, Mark Webb, who arrested Rollo said that he and other police were at a service station when Rollo drove his Harley Davidson to the station and filled it with petrol. They were alerted to Rollo when he kept his full-face helmet on when entering the station to pay, despite a sign asking people to take their helmet off. Webb asked Rollo for ID to check he was entitled to ride the bike. According to the police report, Rollo refused to give his details, and was aggressive and belligerent to the officer. Webb arrested Rollo, and police later found two bags of meth on the lawyer after searching him.

  Rollo without his big helmet
 

At the trial the prosecution said that Rollo gave "implausible explanations" for having meth in his possession as he told police that he had not worn the jacket for a long time and someone else may have put something in the pocket. He also allegedly told police that he must have accidentally picked up the other bag, found in his jeans, when he collected his keys from a table from the previous venue he had visited.

The defence argued that the arrest and search were not valid, since Webb "smashed" Rollo against the police car, put him in painful wrist-lock and struck him in the face. The officer denied these points. The trial continues.


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