The Herald reports:
Police are investigating a text message, allegedly sent from the phone of National Party MP Sarah Dowie, to her former colleague and ex lover Jami-Lee Ross.
The police investigation is said to focus on whether the text message – which came after the break-up of their extra-marital relationship – constituted an incitement to self-harm, which is punishable by up to three years in prison.
Ross, 33, has previously named Invercargill MP Dowie, 43, as one of the women with whom he had an extra-marital relationship while National MP for Botany.
The text message included the words: “You deserve to die.”
I’m saddened but not surprised the media have named Sarah. The pretext of the Police investigation is just that – a pretext. The idea that a solitary “I hate you and wish you were dead” text message as a relationship broke up could be in breach of the law, is risible. If so, hundreds of thousands of people are probably also criminals.
Merely saying I wish you were dead is not the same as incitement. If there was a pattern of such messages, maybe. But a solitary angry message? Extremely doubtful. The fact the Police haven’t even bothered to interview Sarah Dowie suggests they don’t see this as a issue of prosecution.
The full text message was published on Whale Oil a while ago. It was sent two months before JLR was sectioned, and before the inquiry into Simon Bridge’s expenses leak. It was sent at 2.27 am, never a good time for texting.
The text message is full of hate and loathing, as sadly you often see when a relationship breaks up. In this case, it was more than that as Dowie’s marriage had also ended. People often lash out, in this situation. One may well make judgments on those involved for the relationship in the first place, and disapprove of such a text, but that is a long way from seriously suggesting it breached the law.
I also doubt the story that it was re-reading the text message two months later that led to JLR breaking down. That is all rather too convenient to make him the victim and Dowie the victimiser in all this. One could well argue he saw the old text message and jumped at a chance to make her feel guilty. I don’t know what is the truth, but I’m certainly not going to accept self-serving assertions as fact.
Anyway the worst kept secret in New Zealand is now out. I don’t see any public interest in covering the disintegration of a relationship between two MPs. It was obviously a horrendously painful experience, and they should both be allowed to get on and rebuild their lives.
We also should have great empathy for others who have been harmed by this, and will be suffering. Kids will be reading about their parents, and ex spouses having to cope also. They have my sympathy.
Finally, one interesting item. The Herald story has multiple photos of Ross and Dowie together. They are credited as having been “supplied”. That raises the question as to who supplied them. Pretty easy to guess I’d say.
UPDATE: I’ve been informed that the photos the Herald used were not supplied by anyone, but taken off Facebook and social media. If correct, then describing them as supplied is misleading.