This is the open letter to the Police Commissioner from Stephen McIntyre's widow, it was posted yesterday and a copy sent to the head of the Auckland Drug Squad.
Dear Police Commissioner,
Please find enclosed an introductory letter explaining who we are and what we do...
Auckland Greencross Charitable Trust is a patient-orientated organisation committed to assisting sick, disabled, and dying patients in the accessing of information and resources required to enable medical support for medicinal cannabis use.
To advise, inform and assist patients who may not tolerate conventional treatments, and who seek help with the relief of conditions where cannabis is known to be efficacious.
To assist those who are already self-medicating with cannabis to seek professional support and guidance.
To create a network support system of interested medical professionals who approve of their patients using medicinal cannabis.
To assist patients who wish to legally apply for Sativex with ACC and WINZ support.
To advocate for patients’ rights and lobby appropriate government departments to have medicinal cannabis placed within the regulatory framework of the Medicines Act.
To meet the needs of both patients and society through open and honest education, and in doing so help create safer and healthier communities.
Stephen McIntyre was a founding trustee who voluntarily took on the role of office manager. As such, he was the only person present when our offices were raided by police on the 22nd June. Medicines were found, and Stephen was arrested and charged. After recovering from the shock of having our premises violated, our medicines confiscated, confidential patient records stolen, and our office manager being victimised; we were enthusiastic about publicising our cause and organisation through Stephen’s court case.
On Monday 16th July, at eight fifteen pm, two police officers visited the McIntyre residence unannounced . Stephen was in the middle of giving a guitar lesson to four adult students. Stephen was a guitar teacher. Our sons Terumi, Takumi and myself were also home at the time.
The officers asked to speak with Stephen outside, where they told him they could smell cannabis. This was impossible. Stephen explained that he was in the middle of a lesson and that no illegal behaviour was or had taken place at his home.
The officers then asked if Stephen had a lawyer and who that is. They asked how he was going to plead in court and what he was going to say.
The male officer then became threatening, he stated that Stephen could be facing more charges if the arresting officer decided to dig further, and that it could all turn out much easier depending on what Stephen did in court. He made mention of how other people have made noise and turned cases like this into a campaign. The officer asked Stephen if he was a cannabis campaigner. Stephen explained he had been an activist for cannabis law reform for 13 years.
Once again the officer made reference to smelling cannabis, and once again Stephen pointed out that was impossible and he was in the middle of work.
The police then explained they were checking on his bail conditions and could be coming back whenever they chose to.
Stephen was very upset by this experience. Stephen was a law abiding, gentle man who was not used to aggressive police behaviour. He felt his security and privacy was unjustifiably violated. He felt scared and intimidated.
Less than a week later on 22nd July, Stephen took his own life.
I know that that the behaviour of the police at my house on 16th July created more fear and stress than my husband could cope with.
My questions to you are, firstly; What were the police doing visiting our home in the first place? Bearing in mind that Stephen’s only bail condition was for him to reside at home. Stephen was not on a curfew, so he was not obliged to be home at 8 15. Secondly; how do you justify intimidating behaviour by police in the sanctity of our home?
I look forward to your reply.
Part 3 will be posted on Thursday, it is a transcript Stephen wrote of what the two Police officers said to him on July 16th.