Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The law means nothing, as usual

When Parliament passed the (flawed) Harmful Digital Communications Act, online incitments to suicide were the justification for it. They caused obvious harm, and unlike the clause criminalising exposing corrupt politicians on the internet, the amendments in that area were absolutely uncontentious. So when National MP Sarah Dowie, who voted for the law, was exposed as having sent exactly such a message to fellow National MP Jami-Lee Ross, I welcomed the prospect of her prosecution.

Of course, it didn't happen. Despite an apparently textbook case, as usual when an MP is involved in apparently criminal conduct the police decided that no charges would be laid:

Police will not pursue charges against Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie relating to a text sent from her phone to MP Jami-Lee Ross.

Earlier this year, police launched an investigation in relation to a message sent to Ross from Dowie's phone.

The complaints "did not reach the threshold of an offence", the police said.

Assault. Electoral offences. Bugging. And now inciting suicide. It is just amazing how often conduct which would result in instant prosecution if done by one of us peons is ruled to be non-criminal when done by a politician. Almost enough to make you think that the police's natural instinct is to protect those in power (who decide their budgets), rather than hold them to the same standards they apply to the rest of us. Its one of our most obvious and odious examples of corruption, and one which persistently undermines the rule of law. And it is something we should no longer tolerate.