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Minister notes change in story by his accuser

05 December 2005

Minister notes change in story by his accuser

Cabinet Minister David Benson-Pope says he welcomes the release today of police files into historic allegations against him.

"I am pleased that the files reveal the majority of the class back my belief that these alleged events did not happen," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"This case relies on the memory of a small group of boys 23 years after an alleged incident and after a huge amount of intense and suggestive media coverage."

Mr Benson-Pope noted an example of just how unreliable students' recollections could be was his main accuser now significantly changing the version of events he recalls.

Mr Benson-Pope says the police files show that former student Phil Weaver now recalls putting a tennis ball in his own mouth for "a bit of a laugh". He says this casts doubt over the whole scenario, and supports Mr Benson-Pope's belief that events had not happened as alleged.

The Police file shows Weaver now recalling: "I can't remember the sequence of events, but it was along the lines of me talking because it was something I did. I think it went from there to I'll stick the ball in my mouth to show my mates, as a bit of a laugh. Everyone in the class thought it was funny." [Police File: WW0032]

This is a significant departure from the stories being told by Judith Collins and Rodney Hide.

Mr Benson-Pope says the release of the police files draws a line under the issue for him and that he was looking forward to getting on with the work of government now that this distraction was past him.

ENDS

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