What are the ‘Roast Busters’?

The Roast Busters is the name a group of young men based in Auckland gave themselves when they started a group based around the premise of meeting young women and having group/sex with them. It is alleged that this group engaged in gang rape and other coercive sexual activity involving alcohol and underage girls. The group maintained a Facebook group which they allegedly used to source victims and brag about the assaults. You can read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roast_Busters_scandal

What did the Independent Police Conduct Authority find?

On 19 March 2015 the Independent Police Conduct Authority released the report on it's investigation into Police handling of the complaints laid in relation to the 'Roast Busters' case. The Authority found that the victims in these cases were let down by the Police and identified a number of deficiencies in investigative practices.

Download the full report here.

The Authority was concerned that in several of the cases, because officers concluded that there was insufficient evidence to proceed without the cooperation of the young women, they decided that no further action was required. The Authority also found that investigating staff failed to consider all available offences when determining the outcome of their respective investigations, and that there were options to prosecute that weren’t explored, let alone discussed with the victims.

Read more commentary here.

What next?

Now that the review has found that there were charges that the police failed to adequately consider, it's time for the police to revisit their decision not to lay any charges.

What about the survivors? What if they don't want to give evidence or go to court? Shouldn't we leave them alone?

The investigation could be reopened without the victims needing to lodge new or additional complaints as Police policy says that they don't need to have a complaint in order to pursue sexual assault charges. that those girls and young women do not have to be involved in any further investigations.

Police have discretion to pursue prosecution, especially in cases where it's in the public interest and where children are involved (the youngest known victim was 13 when she came forward to Police in 2011). Our understanding is that the seven young women were told they'd have to go to court for anything to happen, and that the IPCA have now said that this isn't necessarily the case.

We have had families of the victims contact us in support of our last petition - to review the lack of charges - and with the over thirty alleged victims (at least 23 of which didn't come forward to Police) we're asking for Police to review avenues that don't involve forcing the victims to do anything they don't want to. It's now clear from the IPCA report that there were at least potentially charges that could be pursued without involvement of the victims. 

What happened last time the Police investigated?

On Wednesday 29 October NZ Police released their decision not to press charges in “Operation Clover” (the Roast Busters investigation) due to lack of evidence. Many New Zealanders are outraged. ActionStation is working to channel this outrage to make long lasting change and ensure that these survivors, and other survivors who wish to come forward, find justice within the justice system. We need to act now while the issue is still making headlines and force our decision makers to review what’s gone wrong here.

But the police can’t just make up evidence?

Absolutely not. And it’s great that the case remains open should any of the young women and girls choose to take it to court. But we agree with the Independent Police Conduct Authority's finding that there were a number of charges that could have been laid that were not considered and ought to have been. 

What difference can a petition make?

Petitions have been shown to be successful on the topic of sexual violence. Our own petition of almost 8000 members helped bring pressure on the government to ensure that there was a truly independent review of the Roast Busters case. Other petitions have help stopped closures of sexual violence services like Auckland HELP and made big noise at Parliament with Jessie Hume’s petition of over 100,00 kiwis against the Roast Busters which almost certainly contributed to a sexual violence service funding boost.

We hope that our petition will do two things:

  1. Pressure decision makers into investigating (and remedying) a system that has let down the victims of the Roast Busters.

  2. Send a signal to the Roast Busters survivors and other survivors of sexual assault that thousands of New Zealanders support their right to justice.

Surely this case is just part of a bigger issue?

Absolutely. Statistically 1 in 4 NZ women will experience sexual violence. There has been lots of investigation into how to make the justice system more effective and accessible for survivors of sexual violence who choose to come forward. We hope our petition can be a small but important step towards improvements. 

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  • commented 2015-03-21 21:48:52 +1300
    Justice Carruthers has published his report into the police handling of the Roast Buster gang. Key outcomes are:
    - No prosecutions of the Roast Buster gang
    - No investigation into whether authorities actively encouraged victims not to pursue their complaints
    - No meaningful consequences for any policemen for inexcusably poor work
    - No accountability for anyone in authority
    - No change in the status quo

    No surprises here. Carruthers’ report is the final act in what is the classic New Zealand script for ensuring no accountability for those who commit child sex crimes and those in authority who cover up child sex crimes. The same formula is used time and again to ensure no consequences for child sex crimes.

    New Zealand continues to be the paedophile capital of the world and another generation of innocent children and decent families are at risk.

    Unfortunately, we have experience in this area. Our 14-year old child was victim of sex crimes committed by the St John ambulance gang including Karl Berghan (21) and Sam Brens (20). NZ authorities determined that the group sex was “love and romance” and prevented our family from pursuing justice by gagging us. We were threatened with imprisonment if we spoke of the sex crimes, and threatened with bankruptcy if we dared challenge the gagging orders.

    NZ authorities actively encouraged our under age child not to pursue her police complaint (after she had made a written statement to police). 3 of the 6 victims of the Roast Buster gang, also made written statements to police, and then subsequently decided not to pursue their complaint. Hello? Carruthers’ “investigation” did not examine why these Roast Buster victims decided not to pursue their complaints. This is a glaring and telling omission, especially in the light of the massive evidence of poor policing already in front of Carruthers’ enquiry. If Carruthers had conducted a proper investigation, he would likely have uncovered the reason for all these sudden complaint withdrawals by victims, and revealed a key reason why NZ paedophiles are able to act with impunity.

    We have detailed our experiences and named those in authority in NZ who seek to promote or cover up child sex crimes: http://bit.ly/ourNZexperience

    The Carruthers report can be found here: http://ipca.govt.nz/Site/publications/Default.aspx

    We look forward to the day when there will be meaningful consequences for those who commit child sex crimes and those in authority who cover up for them.
  • commented 2014-11-17 13:55:29 +1300
    You know NOTHING you stupid woman. Without the FACTS you should stop making comments and stirring up the public about things you don’t understand. Did you know that when the police had finished their long investigation it went to the police lawyers, from there it went to the Crown Lawyers, and from there it went to parliament. This was to ensure the police had done a thorough job. Leave this alone or you will end up embarrassing the silly girls involved.

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