Brash requests Commission of Inquiry into email investigation

May 21, 2009

Don Brash has requested a Commission of Inquiry into the way the police handled the theft of his emails when he was Leader of the Opposition.

Dr Brash has proposed to the Prime Minister and Minister that the Commission inquire into and report upon the integrity of the police investigation into the theft, and their behaviour since publicly announcing the investigation was closed; and satisfy itself that the police acted at all times professionally and without political bias or interference. It could not and should not seek to reopen or reactivate the investigation into the theft itself as that could be seen to cut across the role of the police or the role of the courts in determining criminal or civil liability.

“This is not about Don Brash. There are important issues relating to every New Zealander’s privacy and the integrity of our political system that deserve resolution,” Dr Brash said.

“Everybody has a right to expect their correspondence will not be illegally intercepted or read by people it is not intended for. That includes private individuals but it also includes political parties, business groups, trade unions and NGOs, all of whom need a degree of privacy in planning and discussing their ideas and strategies.

“In a democracy, everyone therefore has an interest in being assured that the police take such issues seriously.”

The time taken to undertake the investigation,  the way it was conducted, delay in releasing information when it was requested and the extensive censoring of what was eventually released all raise questions which ought to be answered by an independent inquiry.

This isn’t about the content of the emails. It’s about the right for correspondence between people to remain private , be they private individuals or public figures and whether or not the police handled the investigation properly.

Keeping Stock  noted the contrast between the release of the email report and the release of a “large and graphic” file on the Tony Veitch investigation.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog


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