Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What a difference the full report makes...

Now that the full police report of the David Benson-Pope invesitagation has been released, significant developments have taken place:

1. Benson-Pope has changed his position on whether the tennis-ball incident took place. He now claims that he is one of the nineteen that does not recall the incident or believe that it happened.

2. He has apologized to the Dunedin Police for his ridicule of them for using "bozo-ish" language when they said there was a prima facie case to answer.

3. He is in trouble with his colleagues. Helen Clark has said in the house that the matter "could have been handled better" and that "advice will be forthcoming" about his misleading leaking of the report to the Herald on Sunday.

4. A scapegoat has been selected. Helen Clark has referred Pete Coleman, Benson-Pope's press secretary, to Ministerial Services for leaking selected parts of the police file and obscuring the involvement of Benson-Pope and his office in doing so. News reports suggest that he could face the sack.

With the Speaker having already rejected two complaints about a breach of privilege for misleading the House and is likely to reject the third, does this mean that the matter is over? The only problem is that there is the distinct possibility that Coleman did what Benson-Pope asked him to do. And if that is found to be the case, then Benson-Pope will have done what Lianne Dalziel got fired for - lied to the media.