Henry versus Dunne revisited

I was quizzed again yesterday on Kiwiblog on the David Henry investigation of and accusations against Peter Dunne on leaking the Kitteridge report.

While nothing can be ruled out completely I have seen no evidence that comes anywhere close to proving Dunne leaked the report, Dunne’s denials and explanations have been consistent and believable, and I have seen no reason to disbelieve Dunne’s claims of innocence.

Some points from the Henry report:

25.The news article was printed early on Tuesday 9 April and occupied the front page. Writing the article, and preparing the accompanying graphics, would have taken some hours and would have had to have been completed by the evening of 8 April. As a major scoop I think that both the writing and publication would have been given priority. On that basis I think that the reporter gained access to the report on Sunday 7 April or Monday 8 April, with the Monday being the most likely.

This is a narrow assumption by Henry. He doesn’t consider the possibility that Vance would have needed time to read the report, research it, contact people to verify and comment with various people (and Dunne has admitted discussing it by email), write it up, have editors check it etc etc. Henry has implied Dunne gave Vance a copy at midday on the Monday. That leaves a very short time-frame.

Dunne returned from holiday on the Sunday. Henry initially told Dunne that he thought Sunday was the most likely day it was leaked – until he was told that Vance was away in the South Island for the weekend.

26. It is not possible to be definitive but it is likely that the report was provided directly to the reporter by the leaker.

Some people have claimed Dunne could have drip fed bits of the report to Vance via email. There wasn’t time for him to do this, and Henry thinks Vance had a full copy.

41.l requested the return of all copies. All but two have been recovered. I was advised that the two missing copies had been shredded: One copy had been returned to the Cabinet Office by a DPMC officer and shredded. The other had been held by a cabinet minister whose staff tell me had not accessed the report prior to the leak

Henry simply accepts their word that the copies were shredded and appears to have not investigated further.

59.For completeness I record that I had no access, nor did I seek any access, to private email providers or private telephones.

Any smart leaker would not have communicated via logged parliamentary communications, but Henry does not consider this or private meeting at all except for one Dunne-Vance meeting that Dunne says didn’t happen.

68.As part of that preparation the officer had the report at home over the weekend of 6 and 7 April. The report was not kept in a safe or locked cabinet at the home but the officer states that it remained in the officer’s possession at all times.

Henry takes the officer’s word for it, apparently without further investigation.

82.l remain of the view that I need to have full access to all eighty-six emails.

Henry was focused on Dunne and after the phone logs proved nothing and the security data proved nothing and after the photocopy and printer logs proved nothing he saw the emails as the proof, and we know he tried to access the email contents.

Natural justice

86. Mr Dunne has been provided with relevant extracts from drafts of this report and his comments have been taken into account.

No, Dunne’s comments – including strong denials – have been ignored. It’s very likely a travesty of justice has occurred.

Without Mr Dunne’s permission I cannot take the matter any further.

No, he cannot take the matter further with Dunne, for whom he has no evidence and adamant denials. He could have investigated other possibilities but chose not to. He was under tight time pressure which may have contributed to him doing a very narrow investigation.

This doesn’t rule out Dunne, but after extensive investigation of him no evidence was found.

It also doesn’t rule out many other possibilities that were barely considered or ignored.

All the accusations against Dunne have been lacking in facts and absent any evidence (as mikenmild demonstrates in his comment) and seem to be mostly based on loose assumptions or through spite of Dunne and attempts to smear him.

There is body. There is no smoking gun. There isn’t even a gun. There is no evidence a gun was involved. Poison and knives appear to have no even been considered.

The investigation and deliberate accusation were nowhere near the standard of a police inquiry or standard of evidence in a legal case.

The investigation seems more along the lines of an IRD investigator who makes very narrow targeted investigations and who has the power to rake through any information they like when the target an individual. Except in this case an ex IRD officer didn’t have that power, but tried to use it anyway.

This remains at little more than:

Henry: I think you did it.

Dunne: I didn’t do it.

Keeping in mind that Henry’s inquiry was very narrow (targeted mostly based in assumptions of guilt targeting Dunne) and found no evidence, and Dunne’s denials and explanations have been consistent and backed by facts.

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