1491796700480 - Horowhenua man loses appeal after escaping police through toilet window

Horowhenua man loses appeal after escaping police through toilet window

A Lake Horowhenua advocate convicted of escaping police custody through a toilet window has had an appeal turned down.

Philip Taueki was convicted of escaping from custody at the lake, near Levin, in 2014, but has appealed the charges twice.

A Court of Appeal ruling released this week has upheld his conviction but supporter Anne Hunt confirmed they would appeal the conviction further.

Among the evidence used against Taueki was an email he sent saying he was “on the run”.

READ MORE: * In legal storm over lake, a pledge to stop pollution ‘by hook or by crook’ * Lake Horowhenua campaigner given leave to appeal conviction for escaping police * Activist’s appeal ‘great assistance’ – judge

He also allegedly taunted police as he fled from them.

Taueki’s defence was that he was technically no longer in police custody as the officers had allowed him to go back to his residence. 

 He was found not guilty of burglary and defacing the Horowhenua Rowing Club’s building but was found guilty of escaping custody.

The long-running court battle began when Taueki was arrested by two police officers who were doing a patrol of the Lake Horowhenua Domain.

He was discovered at a building used by the rowing club.

“One of the roller doors was open and he was removing items from the building into his truck parked alongside,” the court judgment states.

The club’s occupation of the building and the land has been the source of a longstanding dispute.

Taueki was then arrested for unlawfully being in a building.

But he disputes he was placed under arrest, or  that it was a lawful arrest.

Taueki asked if he could take his truck back to a nearby shed where he was living and collect some personal belongings, including a laptop, to bring with him to the police station.

The police agreed to this request.

When he got to his residence Taueki went into the toilet, the report states.

The police officer heard a loud banging noise and realised Taueki had climbed out the toilet window.

The officer called out to him to stop.

Taueki allegedly shouted back “f… yous, come and get me”.

The officer conceded under cross-examination that it was, in hindsight, unwise to allow an arrested person to drive away in a vehicle.

However Taueki’s residence was only 30 to 40 metres away and the officer followed on foot within touching distance of the truck, the judgment said.

Evidence used against Taueki included an email he sent reading: “I am sending you this email from a clearing known to Muaupoko as I am on the run after escaping police custody on the weekend.”

Taueki said he used the phrase “on the run” in quote marks.

The court also considered the fact he chose to exit via a toilet window rather than through the front door as evidence that he knew he was in custody.

Taueki first appealed the conviction to the High Court in 2016 but lost.