Prime Minister John Key says the Government wanted a
diplomat, accused of sexual assault, to face charges in New
Mr Key said the case, in which the diplomat invoked immunity,
had been discussed at a ministerial level.
The diplomat, aged in his 30s and employed at a high
commission in Wellington, faced charges of burglary and
assault with intent to rape, after allegedly following a 21
year-old woman to her home last month.
Under the Vienna Convention, diplomats, their immediate
family and staff cannot be arrested or detained in foreign
countries, and the man's home country refused to waive
diplomatic immunity. Their houses cannot be searched and nor
can they be called as witnesses in a prosecution or be
The man was ordered out of New Zealand.
Mr Key said the Government "expressed [its] view" that the
man should have faced the charges in New Zealand.
"But it is, as you know, up to the home country to decide
whether they invoke diplomatic immunity or not."
Police began criminal proceedings against the man last month
and notified the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
MFAT asked his host country to waive immunity, but that
country's government refused, and pulled him from his posting
The ministry sent a diplomatic note to his home country to
say it wanted the man to face the sexual assault charges in
Mr Key said he understood an investigation was underway in
the diplomat's country.
"It's an ongoing process here at the moment, there's a
suppression order so I can't go into too much detail. But my
understanding is that the home country is looking at the case
and charges might follow there."
The police file remained alive and if the diplomat returned
to New Zealand in a non-diplomatic position he could be
Labour leader David Cunliffe said the public had a right to
know which country the diplomat was from.
"There are well established conventions about diplomatic
immunity which are probably beyond the control of any New
Zealand Government, but ... we should know where he was
from," Mr Cunliffe said.
He said he did not know the nationality of the diplomat.
Labour's foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer said Foreign
Affairs Minister Murray McCully needed to ensure the matter
was not "swept under the carpet and forgotten about.
"The alleged victim in the case deserves more than that," he
Mr Shearer said extradition of the diplomat to face charges
in New Zealand should be considered.
He also questioned the name suppression for the diplomat and
his home country.
"The Vienna Convention that provides diplomatic immunity is
an ancient agreement, one that New Zealand takes seriously
and upholds. It protects our diplomatic personnel serving
overseas, no matter where they are located.
"Nevertheless, we also expect justice to be done and the
rights of any victim to be respected and not simply
Police told the Herald on Sunday they had sufficient evidence
to charge him with assault with intent to rape, but had let
him go as he was not able to be prosecuted under New Zealand
law. He had also been charged with burglary.
It is understood the man refused to give a DNA sample.
Police spokesman Nick Bohm said the complainant "has been
fully informed throughout the process and we are continuing
to support her".
MFAT said serious crimes by envoys in New Zealand were rare,
but Louise Nicholas, survivor advocate for Rape Prevention
Education, has labelled the diplomatic immunity a "crime in
"It's really difficult for the Government. There is nothing
you can do about it. The victim has to live with knowing
there will be no justice for her. It is disgusting of the
[diplomat's] government to allow this man home.
"For these people to be able to legally walk free is a crime
Nicholas praised the NZ Government's attempts to get the
man's immunity waived, and still wants him to be extradited.
"The crime was committed here so he should be brought back
here to face the judicial process ... It's just so wrong."
- by Bevan Hurley and Isaac Davison, additional reporting
by Patrice Dougan