Foreign Minister Murray McCully has apologised publicly
to the woman allegedly sexually assaulted by a Malaysian
diplomat who was sent home due to diplomatic immunity.
But he does not believe it would be appropriate to apologise
"I don't know who the victim was and I don't think it is
appropriate for me to try and find out," Mr McCully told the
"I think it is appropriate to express publicly an apology but
I don't think it is going to help her circumstances for me to
go seeking her out."
Mr McCully apologised to Prime Minister John Key this morning
after discovering that the Malaysians had pulled out their
diplomat, Muhhammed Rizalman Bin Ismail, in the belief that
the New Zealand Government would not object.
Until last night, both Mr Key and Mr McCully had believed the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs had asked Malaysia to waive
diplomatic immunity in order for the accused to face charges
in New Zealand.
Mr Key effectively publicly criticised the Malaysians for not
revoking diplomatic immunity when news of the case broke in
the Herald On Sunday.
After inspecting the file himself last night, Mr McCully said
it became clear that New Zealand's messages to Malaysia had
And officials advising Malaysia's Foreign Minister, Anifah
Mana, were entitled to believe from informal communications
from MFAT that the course of action Malaysia took would be
acceptable to New Zealand.
Mr McCully made an apology in front of the media today.
"I have made it clear that we apologise for a performance
that was below the standard that should be expected of the
New Zealand Foreign Ministry.
The accused, a warrant officer with the Malaysian defence
force, is the subject of a military board of inquiry and may
face a court martial.
Mr McCully said: "He hasn't got away with it. There is a
process underway and we should have some respect for the
Extradition has not been ruled out but Mr McCully said that
was a matter for the police, not politicians.
Mr McCully told Parliament in a snap debate that in a
conversation he had with Mr Anifah, he had expressed the view
the diplomat concerned had tarnished the reputation of all
Malaysian diplomats anywhere in the world and he wanted to
see the matter treated seriously.
Superintendent Sam Hoyle, Wellington District Police
Commander said the police were continuing to support the
"There are currently two charges before the court, for
burglary and assault with intent to rape, and there are
warrants to arrest in relation to both those charges," he
"Police are continuing to work with Crown Law and MFAT to
consider all the options which would achieve the best outcome
for the victim and for justice.
"This includes pursuing extradition and Police are working
with Crown Law and MFAT to establish the legal foundation for
"Given the complexities of this case, this process will take
some time to work through and we will keep the victim updated
regularly as things are progressed.
"As the charges are still currently before the court, and
there is potential that the circumstances of the offending
could be played out under a range of jurisdictions, it is not
appropriate for any comment to be made publicly about the
circumstances of the offences."
Labour's David Shearer said it was incredible that Mr McCully
had given no guarantee he would seek to have the diplomat
brought back to New Zealand to face trial.
"This is simple step and the right one to obtain justice for
the woman concerned.
"How will a Malaysian court complete its job when the
evidence in here in New Zealand?"
He was also critical of Mr McCully for not insisting on being
kept up to date on the case, having been originally informed
the day after the incident that a diplomat had been arrested
and a waiver of diplomatic immunity would be sought.
Mr McCully found out only last Friday that the man had
returned home and diplomatic immunity had not been revoked.
"Either he is not telling the whole story," Mr Shearer said,
"or that is an extraordinary indictment of the functioning of
his office and ministry."
"Surely a charge of attempted rape involving a diplomat is
something a minister would take an active interest in."
Meanwhile MFAT chief executive John Allen said this afternoon
that he knew nothing about the issue until Friday either -
seven weeks after the diplomat was charged.
He apologised to Mr McCully and Mr Key "for the situation in
which they have found themselves".
He also apologised to the victim "for the turmoil that she
has had to suffer as a consequence of this issue playing out
as it has".
Mr Allen said sensitive information tended to be
"compartmentalised" within sections of MFAT and was therefore
not passed on to him or the minister.
These processes would now be reviewed.
"What is clear is that our Malaysian colleagues believed not
agreeing to the waiver was a process the New Zealand
Government agreed with," Mr Allen said.
"That was clearly not the case. The ministry dropped the
- by Isaac Davison, NZ Herald