Police watchdog says officers handled Barclay case well
New Zealand’s police watchdog decided not to pick up the Todd Barclay case because it had no issues with the way officers handled the matter.
NZ First leader Winston Peters struck out at the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) on Tuesday when it announced it would not be looking further into the Barclay case.
Embattled Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay was accused of secretly taping conversations of a staff member, Glenys Dickson, which was a crime.
The original investigation into the matter was dropped because of insufficient evidence after Barclay refused to be interviewed by police.
Following new evidence that Barclay told Prime Minister Bill English about recordings of Dickson, police have reopened the case, and Barclay announced he would stand down at the election.
Authority chair David Carruthers said police acted appropriately in their initial investigation.
The Southland police assigned senior investigators to examine evidence and interview witnesses including English. They sought an internal legal opinion as well as one from the Crown Law Office.
It was these legal opinions that led them to determine they had insufficient evidence to charge Barclay and had no other reasonable steps available to them, the IPCA said.
No search warrants or attempts to obtain the alleged recordings are known to have been executed or requested.
The complaint to the authority was brought by Greymouth social worker Graeme Axford, who was unconnected the matter.
He said he was upset about the disparity between the Barclay case and the ‘‘Teapot Tapes’’ scandal in 2011, when freelance journalist Bradley Ambrose was accused of making a secret recording of John Key and John Banks.
‘‘They got search warrants and raided places and yet with Todd Barclay they never did any of that,’’ Axford said.
‘‘I see it as favouritism. MPs are being treated differently to the average person.’’
Carruthers said he would not comment any further on the IPCA reasoning because the police were investigating the matter once more.