Monday, March 26, 2012

The teapot decision

The police have decided not to charge freelance journalist Bradley Ambrose over the "teapot tape". Despite that, they're still claiming that his actions were unlawful. Which raises the questions: if his actions were so unlawful, why have they decided not to charge him?

Its hard to see this as anything other than a PR job from the police. Having gone in with both feet, executing search warrants and interrogating journalists at the Prime Minister's request, it would look kindof stupid if they then had to admit that there had been no crime after all. So we end up with this: claims of illegality (which are really for a judge and jury to decide), but no charges. Effectively, an exercise in defamation to protect the reputation of the police.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering: How much has this whole saga cost us? Hours of police time, multiple search warrants, legal advice, plus of course three months to think about it. Sadly, the police don't keep records on the costs of individual cases, precisely to avoid embarrassing revelations about this sort of waste. But we're probably looking at over ten grand on Key's private wild goose chase. Will he pay the money back? Or will the taxpayer be left holding the bag for his attempts to shut down media criticism during the election?