Diplo­mat flees af­ter al­leged sex at­tack

Key says Govt urged charges

Taranaki Daily News - - News -

Prime Min­is­ter John Key has con­firmed a for­eign diplo­mat es­caped prose­cu­tion on a se­ri­ous charge af­ter in­vok­ing diplo­matic im­mu­nity.

Key said yes­ter­day that he was limited in what he could say be­cause of a name sup­pres­sion or­der but con­firmed the Govern­ment had urged the diplo­mat’s home coun­try to let him face charges in New Zealand. But the plea fell on deaf ears.

‘‘The coun­try in­voked diplo­matic im­mu­nity; the per­son has gone back to their home coun­try. My un­der­stand­ing is that there is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing un­der­taken in their home coun­try.’’

It has been re­ported that po­lice had enough ev­i­dence to charge the Welling­ton-based diplo­mat with sex­ual as­sault and bur­glary af­ter he fol­lowed a 21-year-old woman home.

Labour for­eign af­fairs spokesman David Shearer said the pub­lic needed to be re­as­sured that the mat­ter would not be ‘‘swept un­der the car­pet and for­got­ten about’’.

‘‘The al­leged vic­tim in the case de­serves more than that.

‘‘Our govern­ment should be de­mand­ing from the coun­try con­cerned that it in­ves­ti­gates the charge prop­erly. That may in­clude

‘‘The al­leged vic­tim in the case de­serves more than that.’’ David Shearer Labour spokesman

New Zealand po­lice pro­vid­ing the ev­i­dence col­lected to en­able a crim­i­nal prose­cu­tion.’’

The diplo­mat’s ex­tra­di­tion back to New Zealand to face charges should also be pur­sued as an op­tion.

‘‘The New Zealand Govern­ment also needs to ex­plain why name sup­pres­sion for the diplo­mat and the coun­try con­cerned was given and whether it had re­quested that diplo­matic im­mu­nity be waived in this case.’’

The Vi­enna Con­ven­tion that pro­vides diplo­matic im­mu­nity was an an­cient agree­ment and one that New Zealand took se­ri­ously, Shearer said.

‘‘It pro­tects our diplo­matic per­son­nel serv­ing over­seas, no mat­ter where they are lo­cated. Nev­er­the­less, we also ex­pect jus­tice to be done and the rights of any vic­tim to be re­spected and not sim­ply for­got­ten.’’

Key said the Govern­ment made its views clear to the coun­try con­cerned that the per­son should have faced charges in New Zealand.

‘‘But it is as you know up to the home coun­try to de­cide whether they in­voke diplo­matic im­mu­nity or not.’’

How­ever, the Govern­ment did not lodge a for­mal ob­jec­tion and was wait­ing to see how the case was be­ing han­dled back in the diplo­mat’s home coun­try.

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