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Public interest works both ways

Brian Neeson
Opposition Police Spokesman

12 May 2000

Public interest works both ways

The NBR should have waited for the outcome of the inquiries before publishing the name of the police officer involved in the Waitara shooting, says Opposition Police Spokesman Brian Neeson.

"The NBR has justified its decision as being in the public interest. National and many other New Zealanders argue the case is equally as strong that not naming the officer before the outcome of the inquiry is in the public interest.

"The NBR have presumed the police officer is guilty before the inquiry has even been completed. The attitude of the editor in chief is astounding and shows a complete disregard for the officer and his family, who at this point should be assumed, was just doing his job.

"I hope no other publications follow suit and publish the officer's name. The tragedy has been difficult for all of those involved. The Police officer and his family may need to relocate in the future and it is unfair that he will be pre judged by other communities.

"It is hard to understand what the NBR were trying to achieve when on Holmes this week over 90% of almost 18,000 callers were opposed to the publication of the police officer's name.

"The Prime Minister is now backing away from the need for a separate inquiry. I suspect this is because she has now been appraised of the facts of the incident. It's a pity she didn't check the facts before talking to the media," Mr Neeson said.

Ends


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