Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Politicians and accusations

Unfortunately for Christian Porter my views on his statement today are tainted by the circumstances around Tony Abbott and the accusation that he threw a punch at Barabara Ramjan. Abbott's first comment was that it did not sound like him, but he followed it up with a categorical denial.

We know that Ramjan was successful in a defamation action against News Corp. An affidavit was provided by a third party witness to the event. That is, the event did happen and was witnessed.

Now it is highly unlikely that anyone witnessed the event in question in the Porter matter. We do have the statements of Jo Dyer on the ABC last night which are no more than heresay. But it does appear that there were near contemporaneous discussion of the alleged victim's claims. With her passing these are the closest that can be found to 'evidence.' We have another friend reporting a consistency in the telling of the events by the aleged victim. 

There have also been suggestions in the media of detailed diaries and other evidence kept by the alleged victime.  

Yet the NSW Police seem to have terminated their investigation simply on the basis that the passing of the complainant meant that there was no chance of a prosecution. Yet they don't seem to have even spoken to the alleged perpetrator. All those lovely episodes of crime dramas where skillful interogation is used to test a person's recollection are apparently not just fiction, they are fantasy.

The grilling by the media was not forensic, and I genuinely feel for the Minister who is clearly stressed by the events (though not dead like the alleged victim). There are all sorts of other explanations, including that the victim has recalled the wrong perpetrator. But it does beggar belief that when the Minister heard the whispers in November, and that those whispers seemed to have been pretty significant, he did nothing. I understand the alleged victim has already died in June, yet the Minister seems to have had no interest in sorting out the matter. He should have known that once the whispers started they would snowball.

The real villain though still seems to be the Prime Minister, whose stonewalling only made matters worse for the Minister. There never was a scenario where this allegation went away without the Minister having to the PM should have brought that about. The PM didn't even read the letters. When he sought the assurance of the Minister about the matter the Minister was provided with none of the details.

The Minister can't recollect when he and the alleged victim wewre together, what happened on the night of a dinner and dancing after which the incident was supposed to have occurred. He can recall, however, the matter of being taught how to iron a shirt. This suggests to me the presence of alcohol affecting recollections - and this could be the alleged victim's just as much as the Minister's.

There is no basis for Porter to be standing down as AG. There should not have been such a protracted period creating pressure on him. But unfortunately, the matter is probably not over. And the PM only has himself and his office to blame (and I suggest his mate whose bins he brings in occassionally). 

To be clear, I am making no accusation against Porter. I genuinely feel sorry for him. I am also making no accusation that the NSW Police investigation has been politically interfered with. I am just gob-smacked about how badly the PM and PMO have managed the matter (which includes the fact that while Porter showed great grace to reflect on the events relating to claims against Bill Shorten, others in the party seem to be trying to revive them as a counterfoil).

Finally, the one lesson we keep learning is that victims of sexual abuse need to be supported to report the crime immediately. 

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans JWL

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