Undercover cop in New Zealand lied to send 150 to jail

October 12th, 2008 - 5:33 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Oct 12 (DPA) A former undercover New Zealand police officer has confessed to lying in court testimony that sent at least 150 people to jail, a newspaper reported Sunday.Patrick O’Brien, nearly 60, wrote to Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, admitting perjury and saying that he was racked with guilt after carrying a “dreadful secret” for more than 30 years, the Herald on Sunday reported.

O’Brien was an undercover agent in covert drug operations for three years in the 1970s and the star prosecution witness in the resulting court trials but said he lied under oath every time, the paper said.

It cited his confession letter, which the Herald obtained under freedom of information legislation.

All but one of the juries he gave false evidence to returned guilty verdicts, the report said.

Police have appointed a senior lawyer to investigate O’Brien’s claims that he often presented exhibits to the juries which were not the drugs he claimed he had bought from defendants accused of drug dealing.

O’Brien told the paper: “Telling lies was easy - policemen don’t tell lies - and my targets never stood a chance.”

The police refused comment until the investigation was completed.

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