A victim of corrupt police officer Gordon Stanley Meyer’s sexual behaviour says she felt “trapped, scared, humiliated, embarrassed and betrayed”.
A woman who 45-year-old Meyer encountered on his police work says she saw him as a uniform that represented “help, trust, and safety” before he offended against her.
One of the two women, and the other woman’s parents, were at the High Court at Christchurch to see the disgraced former officer sentenced to a term of nine months home detention by Justice Graham Panckhurst.
He had offered to pay $6000 to the victims for emotional harm reparations and that order was made by the judge.
Meyer publicly and unreservedly apologised and offered the payment at his sentencing on charges of bribery and corruption, and indecent assault. He pleaded guilty before his trial to bribery over an offer of oral sex that was made by a woman he stopped and tested for drink-driving, and for indecently touching another woman who was in his patrol car, and making her touch his crotch. One woman was persuaded to expose her breasts. The women had both been drinking and were aged 23 and 19.
Crown prosecutor Pip Currie said both were in vulnerable situations, and read from their victim impact statements about how they had felt about Meyer’s offending.
Justice Panckhurst said: “There is a pattern here of an officer who was frankly out of control in relation to matters of this kind. He was using his position to make inappropriate sexal advances to women in the course of his duties as a matter of course.”
Mrs Currie said Meyer’s actions had involved an undermining of confidence in the police force, but Meyer said in his apology letter to the court that his offending had been by “one individual within what is a very trustworthy organisation”.
Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton QC said Meyer apologised unreservedly to the victims and the police. He had been publicly humiliated and vilified and had lost his career. He accepted that it was his own responsibility.
He had lost not just his career but now also faced social isolation. “Polie are very much a family on and off the job,” he said.
“He has relocated to the North Island, his career in complete tatters.” Meyer had returned his 14-year long service medal to the police. He had a 19-year police career before his resignation.
He had been humiliated by the media coverage, which had sometimes been “inaccurate, sensational, and salacious”.
He said information in pre-sentence reports and a psychiatric report before the court pointed to his behaviour becoming repeatedly inappropriate. The behaviour in general was not illegal but inappropriate. “It was always going to be ultimately revealed because there was no attempt to conceal it from anybody.”
One of the victims wrote that she did not wish anything bad for Meyer but hoped he would one day understand the gravity of what he did “and learn to think of others before making such selfish decisions”. She said: “You underestimated me. You abused your power and the trust instilled in you to satisfy your own selfish needs.”
Justice Panckhurst said the word “sleazy” had been adopted by the media at the time of his guilty pleas. “That about sums it up.”
Meyer’s pre-sentence report writer said she was left with the impression that he had a sense of entitlement about what he had done. He lacked insight into the criminality of his behaviour and boundaries that police were subjected to.
He was seen as a low risk of reoffending, who was suitable for home detention.
Justice Panckhurst said a prison sentence would be a disproportionately severe sentence for Meyer, as a former police officer. He also described the effects that Meyer had already suffered from his offending.
He imposed home detention with special conditions that he not associate with the victims, not possess firearms, and that he be assessed for psychological counselling and treatment.
He also read Meyer a first strike warning under the system that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent and sexual offenders.