Police refuse to reveal any details of Dowie text inquiry

A police investigation into an alleged crime committed by a Member of Parliament is newsworthy – especially when the complainant or claimed victim is also an MP.

It’s common with major newsworthy crimes for the police to issue statements and have media conferences, with some outline and details of the investigation being made public.

But with investigations involving politicians they often if not always seem to prefer secrecy. There is no obvious reason for this, apart perhaps from protecting politicians from media mayhem.

David Fisher at NX Herald has used the OIA to seek information about an inquiry: Sarah Dowie and the text message inquiry – what the police won’t tell you

Police headquarters has pulled down the shutters on the investigation into the text message sent from National MP Sarah Dowie’s to Jami-Lee Ross.

Even basic details such as the date on which the complaint was laid and the part of the country where the investigating officer is based have been kept secret by police.

It came months after the end of their extra-marital relationship and included the words: “You deserve to die.”

Ross has previously said he did not make the complaint, which was received through the Crimestoppers freephone number.

Ross, 33, revealed the investigation just before his return to Parliament this year. It was a move which led to Dowie being named as one of the women with whom he had an extra-marital relationship while National MP for Botany.

Ross was obviously aware of the complaint and the means of making the complaint. It hasn’t been revealed whether this was due to contact with the police, or contact with the complainant.

Dowie said she was not aware of the complaint and had bot been contacted by the police.

Police headquarters had refused to make comment on the investigation, leading to the NZ Herald seeking specifics through the Official Information Act.

The sort of information sought was intended to place a context around the police inquiry involving a sitting MP – an unusual occurrence in any Parliamentary term.

Details sought included the date Crimestoppers took the complaint, when it was passed to police and where in the country the investigation had been assigned.

Other details included the rank of the officer leading the investigation, whether he or she worked in a specialised police area and the amount of time spent carrying out the inquiry.

Detective Inspector David Kirby, manager of the National Criminal Investigations Group, said: “The investigation is still ongoing and whilst the investigation is ongoing police is not in a position to go into specific details of the complaint.”

Kirby quoted the section of the Act relied on to refuse providing the information, which says OIA requests can be knocked back if doing otherwise would “prejudice the maintenance of the law, including the prevention, investigation, and detection of offences, and the right to a fair trial”.

Other areas police ruled out were the date on which Ross had been told there was an investigation, whether he had been interviewed – if at all – and whether Cabinet ministers had been told of the inquiry.

if the police had not been in contact with Ross when he revealed the complaint had been made it would indicate that Ross knew via the complainant. He has not said he had no connection to the complaint, just that he had not made the complaint himself.

It has prompted a former senior police officer to ask: “Why would this investigation be treated any differently to any other investigation?”

The blanket withholding of basic information, commonly released by police, was at odds with normal practice, said a former detective, who would not be named.

Do politicians get special treatment from the police? That’s how it appears. If so, why?

A basic tenet of our system is ‘open justice’. This sort of statement is comment in court judgments:

The starting point is the principle of open justice and the right of the media to report on decisions of court as reflected in s 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The principle in favour of open justice should only be departed from in circumstances where the interests of justice so require, and only to the extent necessary to serve those interests.

See Erceg v Erceg [2016] NZSC 135, [2017] 1 NZLR 310 at [2]

New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990:

Freedom of expression

14. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

But that is often balanced against the right to a fair trial, and this was given as a reason by the police for secrecy in this case. Claiming a right to a fair trial is a common grounds for seeking name suppression,  but in this case the names of both alleged offender and claimed victim are already known – because the claimed victim Ross revealed it to media.

So Ross chose to go public for political PR purposes, but despite this the police are refusing to give out any information or context, as seems common with inquiries involving politicians.

The difference in this case is a politician claims to be the victim and has already publicised the inquiry. This is an unusual situation.

Politicians are usually subject to more scrutiny than the general public, but not when the police are involved.

47 Comments

  1. Finbaar Rustle

     /  February 17, 2019

    This matter has probably run it’s course so I have started to lose interest.
    However if video of their extracurricular activity comes available
    I am prepared to consider this new evidence as a professional of course.

    • artcroft

       /  February 17, 2019

      If you want to see Jamie with his kit off, you may need to see a professional (of the psychiatric kind).

      • Finbaar Rustle

         /  February 17, 2019

        Mz Dowie is the one I want to see. Jamie Lee is for you.

        • Duker

           /  February 17, 2019

          a cougar – you do realise she is some 10 years older than JLR

        • Blazer

           /  February 17, 2019

          I hope you’re not a turned in toe mutant’…Finbaar ,or you may not be a…hope.

      • Finbaar Rustle

         /  February 17, 2019

        Mz Dowie was quite happy to see Jamie-Lee with his kit off. Are you saying Ms Dowie is a head case? They are both national MP’s so you have a point there.

        • Duker

           /  February 17, 2019

          Either the journalist or Dowie had sex with JLR on an office desk…but in Melanies telling that became ‘brutal’

  2. Blazer

     /  February 17, 2019

    The Police are very charitable when it comes to any investigations regarding National and their acolytes.

    No problem raiding Hagers house ,but a free pass for the stranded Whale.

    • David

       /  February 17, 2019

      The same coppers that took the very unusual step in reference to no interest in Arderns fella so the rumour would go away.
      It would take 33 seconds to investigate and dismiss the complaint from a JLR supporter but plod is enjoying the ongoing discomfort of a National MP.

      • Blazer

         /  February 17, 2019

        what crime is remotely mentioned re ‘Arderns’s fella’?

        That’s right-NONE!

        • David

           /  February 17, 2019

          They did it to stop the rumours, stop idle speculation, halt the unfair gossip etc. I think I was fairly clear. Plod isnt extending that courtesy to Dowie which pretty much torpedoes your preposterous idea that National MPs get favorable treatment, if thats not enough then cast your mind back to Darren Hughes or the Labour staffers at a parliamentary party, or the handsy guy at the Labour party childrens retreat or the supplying of liquor to minors at the same retreat.

          • Blazer

             /  February 17, 2019

            I said what..crime?Prurient gossip may interest the moral hypocrites that represent the right….you need more.

            • David

               /  February 17, 2019

              And exactly what crime has Dowie committed, by all intents and purposes it is the left and the media mates that have a weird purient interest.
              We are still waiting on the name of the journo he was allegedly shagging on the side.

            • Duker

               /  February 17, 2019

              harmful digital media communications – was a law passed by national government – with cross party support- Yes Sarah Dowie voted for it.

              An MP being investigated for a Crime – remember Todd Barclay – is always news.
              and yes large numbers have been prosecuted under the Act
              https://www.adls.org.nz/for-the-profession/news-and-opinion/2016/8/26/prosecutions-under-the-hdc-act/

              ” Commission suggested that only the most serious and deliberate cases of harassment and bullying would come before the Court. Yet in the space of eleven months there have been 38 prosecutions”

              Funny that , 38 prosecutions -not latest numbers- and David says ‘what crime’

            • Blazer

               /  February 17, 2019

              ‘shagged on the side’!…don’t need to go into such graphic..detail..David.🐱‍🏍

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 17, 2019

    I don’t see why the police should indulge Ross’s narcistical publicity seeking. Particularly when the accusation is both political and laid under an obviously silly law.

    • Finbaar Rustle

       /  February 17, 2019

      To be fair narcissism and National are one and the same

    • Blazer

       /  February 17, 2019

      just ask Al which laws to enforce…he will isolate the ‘silly’ ones..the World According to…Wilkie’!

      • Kimbo

         /  February 17, 2019

        Yes, and if memory serves me right Dowie was one of those MPs who voted for the “silly” law too.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 17, 2019

        I’ve always advocated disobeying bad law. It’s often the only way to fight back against it and discouraging the arseholes from creating more of it.

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      Ross didnt lay a complaint on this – he did lay a police complaint that was on Simon Bridges and Nationals donations which clearly have broken the law to break up a big $100k donation like that- its was from a reputable Chinese figure why wouldnt he be generous for national like the other huge donations from Chinese people ?. Thats because Bridges- as the phone transcripts show arranged the donation like that.
      Silly law, apparently 100s of prosecutions already? Why arent are complaining about THAT silly woman

      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 17, 2019

        If you could point to the part of the conversation where Bridges said anything of the sort about breaking up the donation I’d like to see it?

        Because I don’t think that part exists.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  February 17, 2019

          Downticks instead of the non-existent evidence of wrongdoing. What a surprise…

          • Duker

             /  February 17, 2019

            Its in the phone transcript like I said
            JLR: [laughs] Hey um you know at Paul Goldsmith’s function you saw those two Chinese guys, Zhang Yikun and Colin? You had dinner at their home?

            SB: Yes.

            JLR: They talked to you about a hundred thousand dollar donation –

            SB: Yep

            JLR: That is now in.

            From the details revealed from the conversation Ross had with party GM, Ross had no idea who the ‘straw donors’ were that gave money that exactly made $100K just like Bridges agreed he had arranged.
            Even though they were ‘publicly anonymous’, the party still had to know names and addresses – or give it back ….hahahaha

            Flat out lying about what Bridges did say wont help you all
            of course its an offence to ‘arrange donations’ the way Bridges did….the legislation says ‘procure’

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 17, 2019

              So two people discussed with Simon at a dinner a total of $100,000 without any context as to whether it was only from them, or whether they were meaning a group of people who wanted to donate?

              And the rest comes from JLR who, even though he was trying to entrap SB in a phone call, saId it was all legal when talking to Simon directly?

              And the text messages from JLR to the party president say multiple donations have been received, and despite your editorialising only mention the names provided needed to match to the electoral roll or be returned.

              you put in a laugh, but the party president was speaking privately, so why you see demons there is beyond me.

              This explains why all the media and instead of saying “Simon’s been caught lying!” said “JLR provides no evidence!”

              That bow you’ve drawn is so long its got icicles hanging off it.

              My god- hang the guy!

            • Duker

               /  February 17, 2019

              were you once a lawyer for a mafia don …nothing to see here.

              get over the way it was recorded, its now released by a person who was speaking in the conversation so its legal evidence

              electoral law allows for one person to arrange $X from multiple donors and donate it all in his name, what isnt legal is for the reverse to happen, splitting of donations to come under $15k and become secret identities.
              Bridges clearly arranged the donation- that used to be a no no in the national party , where the pollies wouldnt be US style rainmakers. They wwere supposed to not be a party to any donation, that was for the party bigwigs – god knows they have dozens of regional presidents and VPs.

              Peter Kiely would have had a fit when he heard of what Bridges was doing and how he was doing it…. wanting to keep the President in the dark as well, let alone the legal side. It was easy to get Todd Barclay to refuse to help police with enquirys, but you have around 8 chinese people. who could be in big trouble themselves unless they talk.

              but Ross is very willing to talk, and he has taped evidence so BRidges cant go the normal route and say ‘didnt happen’…hes already in the gun over the ‘mistake’ made about a donation for his own electorate account, but we all know the electorates ‘wash ‘ donations through the central party acounts to avoid the lower disclosure limits for candidates.
              the paperwork may show it wasnt a mistake after all- same problem John Banks had with his Sky City cheque and the 2 donations from Dotcom.
              Wehn you have arranged the money , its no longer anonymous.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 17, 2019

              You’re the one twisting things to create a narrative Duke.

              I never said what was evidence or otherwise – just pointed out the Party Pres was not speaking for an audience when he said the funds would need to be returned if proper details were not forthcoming on the donations received.

              The donors spoke to Simon about giving money according to Ross – not the other way around. And as I said, we don’t have the context of the conversation with the donors, so do not know what was offered and how many people were offering.

              If you don’t think party leaders fundraise, I have a lovely bridge to sell you – it’s all for a good cause!

              You clearly have second sight in these matters – perhaps you should let the police know so that they can call off the investigation because it is all so obvious?

              And Bridges DIDN’T want to keep the party president in the dark.
              He says in the phone call with JLR that he needs to talk to Goodfellow about how the funds are to be used, but needs to find the right words. Scurrilous I know!

              Perhaps there was wrongdoing – the police will work that out I’m sure. But what has been published to date doesn’t provide any questions at all that Simon needs to answer legally, and is significantly less incriminating than Ross wanted everyone to believe.

              In fact without the candidate race comments they would have been a complete wash.

            • Duker

               /  February 17, 2019

              you are trying to muddy the waters here. One bundler grouping together a group of donors is legal – only if its done in the bundlers name.
              Tony Astle comes to mind when he raised large amounts via his restaurant fund raisers with Key attending, he donated the money in his name.

              When you do the reverse, split a $100,000 donation into smaller amounts via straw donors, to get out of the disclosure regime is totally illegal.
              Bridges knows it was all about $100k , accepted that was what he met with the father and son about.
              Ross has had to release the recordings other wise the party would say, he collected it in his electorate account , he was the one responsible.
              This shows Bridges acknowledging his own fundraising.
              So either the chinese people were trying to hide $100k as a smaller amounts, which I doubt as they seem to be reputable people (maybe connected to the Chinese United Front but thats nothing new for national)
              or Bridges procured the split donation – perhaps he thought the party president could be kept in the dark or they didnt want too much money shown as from chinese sources when it was all prublished .

              I can see a private prosecution coming on if the police play games and play amateurs when it comes to investigations

  4. We will see how open the justice system is in the trial of the accused in the case at the Labour Youth Camp which is meant to take place next month.

    • Corky

       /  February 17, 2019

      To be fair Chucky,.. weird wacky stuff and Labour are one and the same thing.

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      Making the trip especially to be there are you chucky

  5. Mother

     /  February 17, 2019

    You’re very interested. You need a new identity to take your interest through.

    Not diagnosing folks. Just interested.

    Evidence of the sort people find convincing is hard to find. Sometimes people are reduced to fishing. If it gets to court, a lot relies on the judge and jury, and they’re just human too.

    It’s a good thing God knows and sees everything. The system is broke when police are obliged to run after church lies and silly texts yet wreck the real jobs that come their way.

    Eventually though, lies always catch up on people, Christian or not, police work or not. Do liars go to heaven Mr Rustle? Can a liar be a Christian? Deep questions for a Sunday morning.

    Why doesn’t anyone ever mention the part of Ms Dowie’s text where she tells Mr Ross that his family would be better off without him? That comment would be more harmful to a stressed man than the comment about deserving to die. It also begs the question of Ms Dowie’s mental health. If she as a rejected adulteress was now saying that her ex lover’s family are miserable because of his existence, how did she ever think she herself had any sanity in wanting to be his wife? What about her sanity at the time of the text writing? What about her sanity now? It reminds me of a stressed pastor’s letter a while ago.

    Strange and stranger. Dumb and dumber. A bit like girls falsely accusing a man, and their parents (fine upstanding citizens and all that) covering for their lies. Lying never pays off. It only gets worse and worse for the liars.

    Does anyone else cringe re giggling men, or is that just me?

    • Mother

       /  February 17, 2019

      https://www.churchuntamed.nz/messages/tessa-noble-ywam-perth-ethiopia

      This doesn’t seem related to this thread I know.

      Notice the name of that church. Exactly.

      YWAM indoctrinate youths. Some go on to have dreams and visions and to practise other pagan type hype. Poor police. They are no match for that. It seems our whole system is no match for paganism (thinking of dear Chloe’s speech again.)

      Liars get found out, always. They should know that the best time to come clean is now. Now is the Day of Salvation! (is that what you say Mr Rustle?)

    • Blazer

       /  February 17, 2019

      a motherlode of drivel to kick off Sunday.

      • Mother

         /  February 17, 2019

        There’s more in social Blazer. Especially for those who are taking my Christianity message to heart, whether a little or a lot or somewhere in between.

        ‘You must be born again!’
        Really?

      • MaureenW

         /  February 17, 2019

        Yes, this character likes to write drivel/dribble all over the YNZ blog, while claiming “free-speech” and christianity for cover. Interesting combination.

  6. Zedd

     /  February 17, 2019

    must be a ‘slow news day’ ?
    Id rather hear about REAL politics, than this ‘sordid affair’ nonsense.

    I think the cops have probably got ‘bigger fish to fry’ OR Dope plants to pull up ?! :/

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      They handle more than one thing at a time you know…. they were capped in police numbers for about 7 years under national after the increase budgeted for by labour in 2008 was runout.

  7. Trevors_elbow

     /  February 17, 2019

    Ummmm. An active Police investigation and Fisher is OIAing it… really. Police have a duty of care to.all parties in relation to the investigation. If it goes to court it becomes public interest and evidence becomes public. Till then it’s not Fishers business…it may be no charge is laid…so Fisher is just hunting for his Left mates to keep the fires stoked.

    So what should be in the headlines but isn’t… Sroubek…Labour Camp alleged assaults of a sexual nature… multiple non deliveries of government policy…

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      have you even read the story Trev – do that before putting foot in mouth. They were only asking innocuous details of the police resource..anyway we have full details of the text, who sent it , when and who it was sent to . Prima facie evidence – which wont affect any court case one bit

      • Gezza

         /  February 17, 2019

        I’m not sure we’ve seen the whole text. What we really to see is the whole conversation or all the exchanges between the pair at the time. Hopefully the police will have got these from their IPs.

        • Gezza

           /  February 17, 2019

          *need to see

        • Duker

           /  February 17, 2019

          the HDC act doesnt say anything about it having to be ‘in context’ its so broad as to cover situations where the intended recipient didnt see something , say on Facebook or Twitter
          As Dowie was telling him to kill himself – incited is the legal term, it falls into one of the most serious categories – even if he didnt carry it out-

          then there is the rest of the text which is deliberately offensive to him- if you are suggesting her deserved it , that wont wash, neither will ‘context’ of a relationship breakup means its OK

          A lot of HDCA offences are covered by other agencies but suicide means the Police are involved

          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 17, 2019

            It’s a stupid law and the Nats should be rightly castigated for putting it before the house, although it got broad support.
            I’m pretty sure Dowie said “you deserve to die”, which to me is a statement of opinion, and doesn’t incite any action whatsoever on the part of the recipient. – I have no idea if that would be how the law interprets it and the whole text is not exactly flattering so it will be interesting to see where it goes.

            • Duker

               /  February 17, 2019

              Inciting someone to commit suicide would always be an opinion….what nonsense you have been reduced to claiming HFD. ..plus she was no immature teen of 18 venting at some cad who was 21.
              She was an MP and a previously practicing lawyer who was some 10 years older….no the silly woman defence won’t work either.
              Magic thinking that will make a so called silly law go away won’t work either as it’s surprisingly coomonly used.

  8. Mother

     /  February 18, 2019

    A Story Around a Text –

    Mr R sort of loved his wife, but he was selfish. He loved his kids too, but he struggled with fatherhood.

    Ms D sort of loved her husband, but she tended to abuse his dedication. She loved her kids too, but not so much as to stay true to their father.

    R & D discovered a commonality in their lives within the rigours and insanity of Parliament. They fell into each others’ arms. The main factors at play were lust and political ambition. Mr R wallowed low and deep with other women too.

    Ms D began to want dedication from Mr R. He then woke up to his stupidness and decided to be faithful to his wife and children. He rejected all the extra women. He told Ms D that there was no future for them together. She was distraught because she had already reached the point of no return with her husband. She sent Mr R an angry text which he recognised as the wrath of a woman scorned. He chose to ignore the vitriol in the text.

    Through media, painful things were shared with the country about the sexual exploits from which Mr R had earlier walked away. The claims were anonymous and one sided. Mr R told the country that he was happy with what he had with his wife. These media events coincided with unrelated political scrums, created by Mr R internally questioning the sanity of Parliament. (This ‘awakening’ had occurred gradually over a period of years and culminated during his realisation of his need to stay true to his family.)

    Mr R was emotionally hurt by the unfair media attention and he kamikazed himself in a knee jerk reaction. His caucus threw him out.

    Mr R was aware that ambition had gotten the better of him. He was friendless. His wife would not let him near their children. His usual political advisers suddenly seemed hollow. He felt helpless. He re visited Ms D’s ealier text as a means to punish himself. He read again that his wife and children would be better off without him. He was all alone and it was all his fault….

    ….but hold on. Is it all my fault? I’m not going to go out without holding Ms D to account. I will go out fighting. Parliament is insane, I accept my wrong doing as a part of that, and I hold others to account too. Isn’t that what living in community is all about?…..

    Mr R sent a text back to Ms D, leading her to realise his intent on ending life. This frightened her. The text from months previous had weighed heavy on her mind. If Mr R’s life was lost she would feel terrible guilt for the rest of her life. She called for help, in response to Mr R’s cry for help. It was possibly the first emotionally honest thing she had done in her life.