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Report into Malaysian diplomat debacle must be released

4 February 2016

Full report into Malaysian diplomat debacle must be released immediately

The Green Party is calling for the immediate release of the Government report into the treatment of a Malaysian diplomat convicted of indecent assault now that the diplomat has been found guilty and sentenced.

Today, the Court sentenced Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail to nine months home detention for indecently assaulting Wellington woman Tania Billingsley. Following the assault, Malaysian officials invoked Mr Rizalman’s right to diplomatic immunity and he was allowed to leave the country, apparently after New Zealand officials had indicated they approved of the move. The Government commissioned a report into the debacle which has been written by Treasury Secretary John Whitehead, but refused to release the report while the case was before the courts.

“There is no longer any reason to withhold the report that details what went wrong and how Mr Rizalman was allowed to leave the country,” said Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie.

“The Whitehead report must to be released now that sentencing has been completed in this case.

“It’s also time to investigate the actions of Ministers who knew about the attack on Ms Billinglsey before the diplomat was allowed to leave.

“Till the Ministers who knew about the assault early on are included in a review, the report will only tell half the story.

“The actions of the Ministers of Police and Foreign Affairs, Tolley and McCully, have never been reviewed or subject to scrutiny.

“Most of all, I want to applaud the bravery of Ms Billingsley in coming forward about the attack and seeing the case through nearly two years of court processes. This goes to show how hard it is for victims of sexual assault to get the justice they deserve,” said Ms Logie.

ends

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