Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Donne Affair: Questions in the House

Today was also the first day that Helen Clark answered parliamentary questions about her off-the-record briefings during the Doone Affair. To put it simply, she stonewalled. A new element in her defence (other than a) she wasn't the original source for the false allegation and b) she can't remember having confirmed the false allegation) was that the evidence was "contested" and that she had informed the Sunday Star Times of that.

This, quite frankly, is total bollocks. If the evidence was contested, then the standard practice is to include it in the report, note its disputed nature and draw (or avoid drawing) conclusions from it. What is not done is to delete the evidence so that it does not appear in the report. If the words "that won't be necessary" didn't appear in the report, it's because they don't appear in the statements of Peter Doone, his wife and the rookie Police Officer about the incident. Since Helen had a draft report at hand, she must have known that what she was confirming was not true at the time even if she can't remember it later.