Guyon on Police investigation into Brash e-mails

May 12th, 2009 at 9:46 am by David Farrar

To get some idea of how bad the Police investigation into the Brash e-mails was, just watch Guyon Espiner on Breakfast this morning. Guyon said:

  • In my opinion, it’s a disgrace
  • Almost nothing in there
  • Contrasts Police refusal to release most info with the full release in other sensitive cases such as Paintergate
  • Labels what the Police have released this time as a “cover up” and a “whitewash”
  • Looks like Police did not want to find out
  • Says file shows they only interviewed around half a dozen people

That is a damning indictment from the TVNZ political editor.

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41 Responses to “Guyon on Police investigation into Brash e-mails”

  1. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    I’ve just posted this on the General Debate thread, but will reproduce it here now that there is a dedicated thread for this important issue, and especially given the debate that DPF, bharmer and myself have raised.

    XXXXXXX

    bhamrmer said “In full expectation of a load of bad karma, I need to point out that if someone who received those emails freely gave them to Hager (for whom I have no brief at all), then no theft has occurred.

    At worst, if that were the case, the person who gave them to Hager has betrayed an implied trust, but broken no law. Hager may have done nothing worse than receive a gift that should not have been given.

    [DPF: Hager has broken no laws. It is almost certain the person who took the emails did though. Only three people had lawful and legal access to those e-mails (including Don). If it was anyone but those three, then crimes were committed]”

    Bharmer and DPF – I disagree completely, and renmain convinced that Hager should have been prosecuted – check this out – Crimes Act, section 228:

    Dishonestly taking or using document

    * Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, with intent to obtain any property, service, pecuniary advantage, or valuable consideration,—
    (a) dishonestly and without claim of right, takes or obtains any document; or
    (b) dishonestly and without claim of right, uses or attempts to use any document.

    Compare: 1961 No 43 s 229A

    Section 228: substituted, on 1 October 2003, by section 15 of the Crimes Amendment Act 2003 (2003 No 39).

    Hager used the information for pecuniary advantage. He presumably does not write books for the good of his health. He had no right of claim to the Brash e-mails. He obtained the Brash e-mails, by whatever source. Without claim of right to the documents, he used them to write a book. This is a serious offence, punishable by a maximum term of seven years’ imprisonment.

    I’m no legal expert, but I reckon the Police would have every chance of a successful prosecution, IF they were that way inclined. Clearly, they aren’t. The big question is “why not?”.

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Sorry. Can’t believe it. Guyon Espiner actually doing some real journalism in the manner of Ian Wishart. It can’t be happening.

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  3. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    Yep, the pinko media are doing it tough these days, no longer do they have special one on one meeting with dear ex leader who would feed them the latest tit bit (off the record) that they could run away and report as “sources close to the PM”.

    The lazy bastards are having to do some work for a change.

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  4. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    I will usually always defend the police, but not on this occasion. This is a disgrace. Don Brash was a few votes away from becoming prime minister. If that had occurred the thefts would have been a matter of national security, not National’s security. Nevertheless that is how they should have been treated. D/I Harry Quinn has retired from the police. Phil Kitchin should be badgering him daily for the full account of what happened here and ensuring it makes the headlines because this thing reeks, stinks and pongs and good officers like Quinn are guilty by association until they offer decent explanations.

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  5. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    Ok, lets cut to the chase. The word is that the theft of the e-mails was a high level Beehive authorised operation conceived by ‘hardmen’ in the Labour cabinet/caucus with the names of Mallard, Cosgrove and Cunliffe bandied about as involved and carried out by Labour staffers (of the standard variety).

    The cover story peddled to the media by Labour (and Hager) was that the leaks came from a disgruntled National Party staffer with links to the English camp).

    The police (non) investigation would tend to lend credence to the Beehive involvement.

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  6. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    big bruv – maybe it’s a case that now that the cat’s away (Clark to New York), the mice are coming out to play…

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  7. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “I will usually always defend the police,”

    Why? Their management is utterly politically corrupt and ineffective and has been for a long time. Ask any Policeman at the coal face.

    Its just another government department that has been stacked with PC Labour Party drones, and as a result, is failing miserably as its real objectives take second place to political objectives.

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  8. bharmer (687 comments) says:

    Inventory2 (2940) Vote: 0 0 Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 10:04 am
    (snip)
    “Hager used the information for pecuniary advantage. He presumably does not write books for the good of his health. He had no right of claim to the Brash e-mails. He obtained the Brash e-mails, by whatever source. “

    I say again, that if he was given them by someone legally entitled to possess them, he can not be said to have obtained them dishonestly. Whether he makes a profit after that is utterly irrelevant.

    You have freely made your opinion available in this forum (frequently). If I use those opinions to write a book, will you then accuse me me of obtaining your opinions dishonestly? You can’t because you gave them away!

    For your charge to stick, first you have to prove that whoever gave the emails to Hager wasn’t entitled to do so, and then that Hager should reasonably have known that. An email, freely sent, does not necessarily remain the property of its author.

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  9. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    It was an inside job, either Bill English or someone close to him; someone who knew national had not a snowball’s chance in hell with “Mr Corned Beef and Peas daily” as leader.

    It is easy as to add a forward to address on a mail account.

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  10. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    bharmer – the question themn is who is legally entitled to possess the Brash e-mails. I would argue though that the “right of claim” clause in the Act would be hard to defend.

    As far as thoughts expressed on a blog goes – are they the same as confidential e-mails between two people? I don’t reckon so. I express my views clearly on blogs, knowing that they go into the public domain. If they are consequences for that, I must wear them.

    There are all sorts of interesting legal questions raised by this whole debacle. But the bottom line is that the police did a snow-job, and had no intention of finding out what actually happened. Why would that be?

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  11. racer (257 comments) says:

    One of the main theories put forward is the photocopier in the same room as the shredder argument. If it was to have happened this way, what evidence would there be of it?

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  12. Doug (410 comments) says:

    Just another example of Labour dirty tricks Dr Richard Northey accused of rummaging through and stealing personal papers. From Cr. Peseta Sam Lotu Iiga’s office.

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  13. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    Redbaiter – you have to demarcate the police on the frontline to those in PNHQ who appear to have become quite politicised. My support is for frontline officers.

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  14. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    One can’t help but get the impression that the term “police state” had a whole different meaning under Labour.

    It would appear that Police administration (and as a result those being administered) were under the very close control and dictate of Helen herself during the reign of the last Labour government.

    Not only were her own transgressions not properly dealt with by the law but those who transgressed in a manner that was helpful to Labour were also seemingly forgiven their sins without penalty.

    That is something that must surely have the people of NZ very, very worried.

    If the police have become little more than a tool of the politicians and are willing to do the bidding of whoever is the PM then we no longer have a free and democratic nation — regardless of who is in power.

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  15. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    Got any proof Jack?

    I suspect this is the work of that known liar Clark.

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  16. bharmer (687 comments) says:

    Inventory2 (2942) Vote: 0 0 Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 10:32 am
    bharmer – the question then is who is legally entitled to possess the Brash e-mails. I would argue though that the “right of claim” clause in the Act would be hard to defend.

    Agreed. I am a little unsure about the distribution lists on the emails in question. If any of them were strictly from Brash to one other person, then Hager has trouble because we could reasonably assume that the sole recipient wouldn’t be stupid enough to pass it on. Where there are a number of recipients, any of whom could pass it on, then the floodgates are open.

    As far as thoughts expressed on a blog goes – are they the same as confidential e-mails between two people? I don’t reckon so. I express my views clearly on blogs, knowing that they go into the public domain. If they are consequences for that, I must wear them.
    Agreed, there is a difference. However, I have in my archived inbox, thousands of emails, many of which were sent in the probable expectation of confidentiality. Some from very rich people in Nigeria. Who owns those emails?

    There are all sorts of interesting legal questions raised by this whole debacle.
    Yes, and I think the difference between us is that I am not yet ready to enter a conviction, because we don’t yet know the process by which Hager got them. There are in my view, plausible scenarios by which Hager might have received them.
    But the bottom line is that the police did a snow-job, and had no intention of finding out what actually happened. Why would that be?
    That is a question worth pursuing.

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  17. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    MyNameisJack: talking about what you know nothing about again? Yes, easy to add a forward. And yes, that creates a very clear audit trail that blind freddy could follow. I doubt that is what happened, unless our police are way more incompetent than I thought.

    Next conspiracy theory?

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  18. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    It is worth pointing out that Brash waited a year before he went to the police; that probably handicapped their investigation somewhat.

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  19. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    There are also many scenarios in which no law was broken, by Hager or anyone else. What if a member of the Nat IT team had access to Brash’s email, printed it out and passed it to Hager? They’ve breached their confidentiality agreement with the Nats but broken no laws around theft or accessing a computer file. Likewise, if a Nat cabinet member gets given Dons old laptop, takes it home and lets his activist kid use it, who then discovers the leaders emails and passes them onto Hager it’s hard to see how any prosecution could be made against Hager.

    I don’t know if either of these were what happened but they’re both a lot more plausible than Nicky Hager hacking into the Parliamentary computer system.

    [DPF: Only two staff members had access to Don's e-mails. If they gave them to Hager then yes it was a leak. If anyone else did so, then they were breaking the law. The Nat's IT team did not have access - I know - I set up the permissions]

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  20. tvb (4,432 comments) says:

    Hearing Dr Brash on Radio this morning he did not want to pursue the mater though he did say the police were either incompetent or they were leaned on not to take this too seriously. He suggested it might be a bit of both. It is a mystery and I do think it is a very serious matter on how these emails got released. But I am not prepared to say the police are at fault regarding their investigation.

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  21. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Ahhh yet again we have the problem of confusing the law justice and ethics.

    All 3 are mutually exclusive and in the case of the unethical practised with no regard to the latter.

    If I recieve an email then it is my ethical and moral responsibility to not pass it on to a person or persons I should reasonably know the sender did not intend to be the receiptiant

    Now for many this is a principle they cannot understand or comprehend

    Because they are ethical and moral pygmies

    Time and space does not allow me to name those who fit this category in relation to this matter.

    Suffice to say most of the particiapants fit the description.

    Senior Plod like Howie Lynn and Wayne alas also fit the description and thats where the problem lies.

    Until we have at least a modicum of good morals and ethics within the senior ranks of our Police force the rotten stench will continue to be emitted from its Headquarters.

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  22. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Danyl

    A fair point regarding Brash’s delay in calling the police. On the other hand, Brash may have (correctly) assumed that involving them would be a complete waste of time.

    Given the apparently pefunctory nature of the ‘investigation’, I am still mystified by the refusal to release the file, and the deleting of large parts of it. What exactly were the Police trying to conceal, other than the half-arsed nature of their efforts?

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  23. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    It is worth pointing out that Brash waited a year before he went to the police; that probably handicapped their investigation somewhat.

    Yeah that was kind of…strange. He had hired a PI, but not sure why he couldn’t have used the police at the same time.

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  24. radar (319 comments) says:

    “Sorry. Can’t believe it. Guyon Espiner actually doing some real journalism in the manner of Ian Wishart. It can’t be happening.”

    Redbaiter thinks ‘real journalism’ is a reporter saying something Redbaiter agrees with.

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  25. george (388 comments) says:

    Danyl / Bobux / Stephen: The police investigation began well before Brash made his complaint to the police. A victim of a crime does not need to complain before the police can investigate.

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  26. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    If I had, say, a DVD player I’d bought down at the pub. And someone else claims that it was their stolen DVD player, and had a receipt to show that they were the original purchaser. Then the Police would certainly ask me to show that I had legitimately purchased it and from whom. If I couldn’t or wouldn’t do that, then I’d be charged with receiving stolen property.

    Similarly the Brash e-mails. Brash claims they were stolen. Hager admits to having them. All the Police need to do is ask him to show that he received them legitimately. That’d allow the Police to determine if the source had legitimate access to the e-mails or not, and to tell us who the source was. And if Hager refused to answer, he could be charged and would have to explain himself to a court.

    So how hard is it for the Police to talk to Hager? Is he not in the phone book? Does his publisher not know where they’re sending his royalty cheques? There are only two scenarios here that make sense: 1. Hager is hiding out with bin Laden in a cave in Pakistan. 2. The Police have not carried out even the most minimally competent investigation.

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  27. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    The Brash emails scandal shows it’s time to look at the chief of the police and his relationship with H1.

    Maybe any review could also look at any role of the chief in the Christchurch creche hysteria and police actions in it. If there were any, H1 could have used this as a lever over the chief.

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  28. bharmer (687 comments) says:

    gd (2149) Vote: 1 0 Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 11:26 am
    (snip)
    If I recieve an email then it is my ethical and moral responsibility to not pass it on to a person or persons I should reasonably know the sender did not intend to be the receiptiant
    So if I receive a letter from a Nigerian scammer, I should respect his wish for privacy?

    I am NOT suggesting that the hypothetical recipient of Dr Brash’s emails regards him in that light, but I am suggesting that the position you adopt towards the sender, or even the content of the email, may well influence the way you see your ethical and moral responsibilities.

    If someone sends me something I hold repugnant (eg, porn, threats, or even news that they have a secret cache of weapons), I will surely send it on to the appropriate agency regardless of the senders wishes. In short, confidentiality of emails received is a matter for personal judgement. If there was a “leak” such a person may have regarded the emails as somehow repugnant.

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  29. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    David, Hager is under no obligation to speak with police. And considering his anti-state attitude in general he would probably gain great delight in telling them to stuff off. This is the case whether he is a witness or a suspect.

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  30. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    really radar – and how would that differ from your own opinion?

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  31. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    There are two issues here and many commenter’s are confusing them.
    The first issue is an alleged crime. Namely the theft of emails. It is likely that we will never get to the bottom of whether they were stolen and if so who stole them.
    The other issue is the police investigation.
    This is the bigger issue for me and I am wondering what effect having a non cop placed in the top floor at police hq had to do with the clearly woeful… Or deliberately woeful investigation.
    We need to know whether Clarks little helper had any input at all. That is what Espiner needs to be asking.

    Further to this I want to know why Collins and indeed Key are not climbing all over this scandal. There silence adds further disgrace to this whole sorry episode.

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  32. Peter (1,714 comments) says:

    Do government still have a policy whereby they keep copies of all correspondence? This used to be physically printed out, but may well be electronic now. An electronic version would be a mail server that mirrors everything that goes through it to disk storage.

    Who has access to such storage?

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  33. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    Danyl M said “I don’t know if either of these were what happened but they’re both a lot more plausible than Nicky Hager hacking into the Parliamentary computer system.”

    But more plausable still is that Labour decided as part of their dirty tricks campaign to hack into the Parliamentary computer system and the Police, either by omission or commission, failed to investigate that properly.

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  34. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    PaulL (2515) Vote: 2 0 Says:

    May 12th, 2009 at 11:14 am
    MyNameisJack: talking about what you know nothing about again? Yes, easy to add a forward. And yes, that creates a very clear audit trail that blind freddy could follow.

    Know nothing Paul, always ready with the insults.

    If I have access to your mail server I can add a forward there, you would never know it existed. Piece of piss, for those of us who know what we are doing.

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  35. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    MyNameIsJack … I think you’d find the forwarded emails would still be captured in the email server logs, and in the logs of any firewalls, and in the logs of the forwarding servers on the other side of the firewall. Yes, the sender of the emails might not know a copy of their emails was being redirected to another recipient, but even a cursory examination of the various log files would show it up.

    I’d also say that PaulL is no naive punter when it comes to IT systems. He’s by no means a “know nothing” with that stuff.

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  36. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    bharmer

    Thanks You proved my point Of course as one with a higher ethical and moral standard one can detect the difference between a Nigerian scammers email and one from a source that is both legitimate and deserves to be held confidential

    That is the difference Its all about judgement as to legitimate and illegitimate whistleblowing.

    If I received emails that were in the national interest to disclose (small n or large n) I would seek to disclose these.

    But it is not the role of Plod to act as a protector of those who should be exposed in the national interest. POld does have the moral or ethical mandate to keep form the citizens information that the citizens should have in order to judge thos ein the public eye.

    IMHO Plod is well out of order and is continuing down the slippery slope of losing credibility as a non partisan upholder of the law.

    So Howie Lynn and Wayne Remember 8 th Nov 2008 Whole new ball game folks.

    Be a good lot of chaps and chapeeses and just release the files Now you know you should

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  37. radar (319 comments) says:

    “really radar – and how would that differ from your own opinion?”

    I don’t judge the quality of the reporting based on whether I agree with what is said or not. It’s a big difference.

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  38. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “I don’t judge the quality of the reporting based on whether I agree with what is said or not.”

    so how do you judge it? If you dont agree with it one of you is obviously wrong

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  39. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    I don’t judge the quality of the reporting based on whether I agree with what is said or not. It’s a big difference.

    Psh. Any reporting worthy of the name would consistently find that I am right about everything, so I haaaaaaaardly see your point.

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  40. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    MyNameIsJack: are you suggesting that Parliamentary Services security is so lax as to allow one of their technical staff to insert a forward on the server? And that they would have no auditing or controls that would detect that? Sorry, I thought the generally accepted truth here was that it was unlikely to be hacked, and it was unlikely to be an IT person who did it – as Parliamentary Services did a full audit to verify that. I think Parliamentary Services, unlike our police force, took it seriously.

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  41. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    1. Why is Broad still there?

    2. Do we have someone like the Ombudsman who we can turn to to investigate our corrupt police?

    3. If not, why not?

    4. Why is Broad still there?

    This is New Zealand’s Watergate. The media should have been all over it from day one.

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