A police officer has appeared in the Whangārei District Court charged with assault. Photo / Michael Cunningham
A Northland police officer has appeared in court charged with assault related to the use of a sponge-round launcher.
Taylor Stephen Morgan appeared in the Whangārei District Court on Wednesday charged with assault on a person with a blunt instrument. He pleaded not guilty and elected a jury trial.
The 29-year-old is alleged to have assaulted Matt Sinclair with a 40mm sponge-round launcher in Whangārei on January 10 this year.
Gas-launched sponge rounds are one of the newer tactical options available to police. The rounds, which have a high-density sponge nose, can be fired up to a distance of 30 metres and are designed so as not to penetrate on impact.
Morgan did not seek name suppression and was remanded at large to reappear in November.
A police spokesperson said an internal investigation was underway and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) had been notified about the incident. The IPCA handles, investigates and resolves complaints about police.
“Given the matter is before the court, and as police have privacy obligations when it comes to employment matters like any other employer, we are limited in providing any further comment … “
The spokesperson said Morgan remained a police officer and was on restricted duties.