Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The return of the Doone

It's been revealed that Ex-police commissioner Peter Doone is dropping a defamation case against the Sunday Star Times and instead preparing to sue Helen Clark instead.

Firstly a summary of the initial case: Peter Doone had been having a night out with his girlfriend. While she was driving them home that night, a police officer spotted their car driving without any lights. He pulled over the car only to be confronted by a somewhat sloshed Commissioner of Police who told him that everything was okay and that there was nothing to worry about. Experienced hands would have known how to mollify the Commissioner and carried on speaking to his girlfriend. Unfortunately the officer was brand-new to the job (only a day or so of experience), felt intimidated by the Commissioner and backed off. When he returned to the station, he contacted the Police Association as he was fearful for his career. Ergo a juicy story appears in the papers the next day. Oops.

Peter Doone could have saved himself then by making a prompt apology. However because he had been drinking that night, he had a somewhat hazy recall of what had happened and so had a different recollection of events than the police officer did. Unfortunately for him, he did not recognize this and so continued to dispute the officer's version of events. This ensured that the matter dragged on and on and on. Since Peter Doone was already under a cloud over the INCIS debacle, his deputy (now current Commissioner) Rob Robinson had to be called in to investigate the affair. And so when Rob reached the only possible conclusion that he could, a face-saving compromise was arrange for Peter Doone to leave his post.

Now the interesting detail is that the face-saving compromise involved Peter Doone taking up a position at Helen Clark's office for the same salary to work on a project for reducing Maori crime. Couldn't Helen have found the time to clear the air over the whole matter while he was within reach?