Thursday, May 01, 2014

"No intention to interfere"

When the Prime Minister found out that Maurice Williamson had contacted police over their investigation of a National Party donor on domestic violence charges, Williamson "assured [him] that he did not in any way intend to influence the Police investigation".


Maurice Williamson told a senior police officer that a wealthy businessman facing domestic assault charges was "investing a lot of money in New Zealand" and urged police to be on "solid ground", according to internal police emails.

The former National Party Minister, who resigned this morning following Herald revelations that he made the phone call, said that he "in no way was he looking to interfere" with the criminal case against Donghua Liu but just wanted to "make sure somebody had reviewed the matter to ensure we were on solid ground as Mr Liu is investing a lot of money in New Zealand", according to Inspector Gary Davey.

And that's exactly what interfering in a police investigation looks like: someone powerful telling police to "be careful". Sadly, rather than reminding Williamson of the constitutional independence of police, or of the law on perversion of the course of justice, they let him get away with it.

Update: Except its worse than that. Because as the released emails show, the Police gave Williamson exactly what he wanted. In an email sent on 20 January, Inspector Gary Davey says
I would like someone from Family Violence to contact prosecutions, review the file, discuss with prosecutions and then we will need to provide a response to the Minister.

Williamson's head isn't the only one that should be on a spike. The Police who obeyed him need to be fired too.