The Ombudsman has ordered the release of statements given to police by outgoing ACT MP John Banks, ruling it is in the public interest.
But the statements would not be handed over until after Banks’ trial over allegations he knowingly filed a false electoral return following his failed 2010 bid for the Auckland mayoralty.
Seems a sensible decision by the Ombudsman. However I do wonder about the precedent. Must statements made in the Hughes assault investigation be publicly release also, based on this precedent?
In a decision released today, Ombudsman Ron Paterson said police were right to refuse some parts of the request, but not to withhold the statements in full.
In their response to the request, police said public interest had to be balanced with the privacy of the person, particularly if allegations remained unproven.
When there is a balance, I favour the public interest.