A former cop who claims he lied to get more than 100 court convictions is prepared to face his demons and go to jail for his deceit.
Patrick O’Brien, a police officer between 1971 and 1978, acted as an agent provocateur, in order to obtain drug convictions against a number of targets, while working undercover for the CIB. He was even praised for the multiple convictions he obtained while undercover.Now police are investigating O’Brien and have contacted some of those wrongly imprisoned because of his lies.
Detective Inspector Bruce Scott wrote to O’Brien last month, updating him on where the inquiry was at.
“Enquiries have been made with people you interacted with in Hamilton, who live in New Zealand and Australia,” Inspector Scott said in the letter.
“The enquiry is now at a stage where I probably need to talk to you (about the allegations of perjury).”
By Julian Crawford/Pic: O’Brien in 2011
The investigation began in 2007, after he wrote to Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias admitting he lied under oath in “every case and on every charge” to obtain convictions against about 300 targets in the Waikato.
“With one exception, the jury in every case returned guilty verdicts on all charges, and most defendants were sentenced to periods of imprisonment,” O’Brien told Truth.
“Telling lies was easy, and my targets never stood a chance. To effect my lies, it was first necessary to deceive my operators.
“In reality I answered to the men who trained me and on whose orders I obtained these convictions. They called it ‘doomsday’ work and instructed me to take this dreadful secret to the grave.”
O’Brien said he was the Crown’s principal witness in a series of High Court drug trials, presided over by Judge Sir David Beattie.
The highly respected judge even commended O’Brien for his good work. “I was so impressed with the standards this man had set himself, the risks he had run and the results he achieved,” Sir David said in 1986.
“Unflinching in the face of sustained attacks on his truthfulness by all defence teams, Constable O’Brien’s manner when presenting evidence ensured that juries accepted him as credible.”
However, the judge was unaware that O’Brien’s credibility and good results were all based on deception.
“For more than 30 years I have carried a dreadful secret. In every case, and on every charge I lied to Sir David and I lied to his juries,” O’Brien said.
“Eventually the work broke me. Haunted, traumatised and scared, I resigned from the police and fled New Zealand.