12 March 2015 - An Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today has found Police followed policy during a pursuit in Auckland last year which ended in the death of the fleeing driver’s passenger.
Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers said in this case the actions of the fleeing driver resulted in tragic consequences for an innocent man and his family.
The incident occurred on 14 August 2014 after Police saw a white Mitsubishi, driven by Robert Pora, overtake a vehicle at a speed of around 80kph in a 50kph speed zone on Puhinui Road in Papatoetoe. Due to the speed and Mr Pora’s manner of overtaking the officers decided to stop the vehicle. They activated the Police car’s lights and siren but Mr Pora failed to stop.
When the officers followed the vehicle onto Preston Road, approaching the roundabout with Boundary Road, they could see the brake lights of the Mitsubishi about 200 metres away. Shortly after Mr Pora entered Boundary Road he collided with a central road bollard, losing control of the vehicle before colliding with another vehicle.
Mr Pora’s passenger, Steven Te Pania, died as a result of the injuries he received in the crash while Mr Pora suffered severe injuries. The driver of the other vehicle received minor injuries.
Mr Pora, who at the time of the accident was disqualified from driving, was charged with manslaughter, reckless driving causing injury, driving under the influence of alcohol, failing to stop and driving while disqualified. On 4 March 2015 Mr Pora pleaded guilty to these charges.
“This incident resulted in the tragic loss of life to a young man due to the actions of the fleeing driver, Mr Pora. In releasing this report the Authority has found the Police officers involved acted appropriatly and professionally and complied with
Police policies during the short 52 second pursuit,” Sir David said.
The Authority notes its work with Police on the policies connected with the pursuit of fleeing drivers. This work is well advanced.
Although the Authority was ready to release its report in November 2014, ongoing criminal proceedings relating to this incident prevented it from doing so.