Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Inquiry into allegations against Ms Helen Clark

Outcome of the inquiry into allegations against Ms Helen Clark

National News Release, 17:35, 5 July 2002
Statement from the Commissioner of Police

I am able to formally announce today the outcome of the Police inquiry into the complaint alleging fraudulent activities by Ms Helen Clark.

Given the high public interest and the nature of the allegations against Ms Clark, I determined it was appropriate to investigate the complaint and appointed a senior investigator, Detective Superintendent Malcolm Burgess, for this task.

Mr Burgess’ investigation focussed primarily on the painting provided to the Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE) charity in 1999.

Mr Burgess carried out a thorough, proper and careful investigation, which has necessarily taken some time. He has presented me with his findings in a comprehensive report. His investigation established that a prima facie case was able to be made out against Ms Clark for forgery – an offence created by Section 264 of the Crimes Act 1961.

The same circumstances disclosed key involvement by a member of Ms Clark’s staff, Mrs Dawn Bush. Mrs Bush arranged the production of the painting for Ms Clark to sign and subsequently provided it to the charity, SAFE, for auction. Mrs Bush’s actions in doing this also resulted in a prima facie case able to be made out against her for forgery and for the uttering of a forged document.

The Solicitor General has reviewed the Police inquiry and concurs with Mr Burgess’ view that the circumstances establish that a prima facie case is able to be made out against Ms Clark for the offence of forgery, and against Mrs Bush for the offences of forgery and uttering a forged document. This is in respect of actions relating to the SAFE painting.

Not withstanding the fact that I have reached the view there exists a prima facie case for forgery and uttering a forged document, consideration of all the relevant factors has led me to the view no prosecution action will be taken against either Ms Clark or Mrs Bush.

It is not my intention as part of this announcement to go through the detail of the inquiry. Nevertheless, some explanation is required as to how I came to my decision.

The law relating to forgery has some complex legal aspects which are open to interpretation. Forgery does not require an intent to defraud and there is no requirement for any person to be specifically or financially harmed.

The appropriate test is that a false document is made with an intent for that document to be acted on as genuine at the time it was made.

I am advised that the SAFE painting became a false document at the time Ms Clark signed it and that the intent can be inferred by the context of those actions and the actions that followed.

The decision of whether or not to prosecute is vested in me as Commissioner and must be made consistent with my constabular oath of office. Though the decision to prosecute would normally be taken at a lower level within Police, this investigation has involved allegations against the Prime Minister and it therefore appropriately falls to me.

Due to the nature of the complaint, I ensured that the investigation was thorough, the advice from the Solicitor General comprehensive and my review of the facts sufficiently detailed to address all possible options.

In making my decision I was guided by the Crown Law Prosecution Guidelines which require me to apply two tests:

- Is there sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution; and

- Is it in the public interest to prosecute?

I have already covered the question of sufficiency of evidence.

With regards to the question of whether or not it is in the public interest to prosecute, I was guided again by the advice of the Solicitor General. That advice strongly counselled against prosecution.

I also note that all parties were motivated by the desire to assist a charity. There was no personal gain disclosed on the part of any participant and, though ignorance of the law is not an excuse, there is no evidence that any party realised the significance of their actions.

No one directly affected by the actions of Ms Clark or Mrs Bush wants to make a complaint or be involved in a prosecution.

Consideration of all the relevant factors led me to the view that prosecution was not appropriate. However, my findings today should serve as notice that there are inherent dangers in those actions.

The Prime Minister, Mrs Bush and other principal parties in this matter were informed of my decision earlier today.

This public announcement of the findings and my decision brings the matter to a close. It is not my intention, nor do I feel it is appropriate to make further comment on this matter at this time.

Rob Robinson

Commissioner of Police

Wellington

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election