The ODT and NZ Herald have dug into the Police investigation into Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, who last year became embroiled in a staff dispute in his electorate.
Their investigation reveals that Barclay refused to cooperate with police
National MP Todd Barclay refused to cooperate with detectives carrying out an investigation into allegations he had secretly recorded staff in his electorate office, according to documents released from the official police investigation.
Instead, Mr Barclay did not return phone messages left for him by the lead detective on the inquiry and had a lawyer contact police to say he would not be making a statement.
Mr Barclay had earlier told the Otago Daily Times: “If they do contact me on any matter, then I will co-operate fully.”
The police investigation was into whether Mr Barclay had breached a section of the Crimes Act around “use of interception devices”.
There were no charges laid following the 10-month long investigation with police eventually stating there was insufficient evidence.
The police investigation file was released through the Official Information Act and gives a detailed account of the breakdown in relations between staff working in the Clutha-Southland and Mr Barclay, who took over the seat from Prime Minister Bill English in 2014.
The investigation file includes a statement from Detective Inspector Antony Hill detailing attempts he had made to arrange an interview with Mr Barclay about the allegations.
He said he was brought in to manage the investigation in March last year and contacted Mr Barclay twice in July 2016 to request an interview about the claims which had been made.
The first attempt to contact Mr Barclay by telephone took place on July 12 2016 with Det Insp Hill’s call going to an answer message. He was sent a text saying Mr Barclay was out of the country until July 29 2016.
On July 29 2016, Det Insp Hill tried to reach Mr Barclay and again left a message. His statement reads: “I subsequently received a call from Mr Barclay’s solicitor advising he would not be making a statement in relation to this investigation.”
That in itself is a recommended way to respond to an investigation.
But Barclay misled the public.
While Mr Barclay had earlier said he would cooperate with police, he later said he had not spoken with detectives.
In November, he said: “I have not spoken to the police about any alleged complaint. Parliamentary Services is responsible for staffing issues so, at the end of the day, they are the employer and it’s not appropriate for them, or me, to be talking about employment matters.”
Asked directly if police had asked to speak with him, he said: “As I have made clear, I have not spoken to the police about any alleged complaint.”
That was a crooked answer, what is clear is that he was deliberately misleading.
What was known already is that Barclay had an ugly falling out with some of his electorate staff. Perhaps that was due to his (young) age and inexperience, and perhaps some arrogance as well.
He has got away with this mess and will hopefully have learnt from it.
The ODT report goes into a lot of detail in Barclay refused to cooperate with police.