ACT Party MP David Garrett admitted in Parliament today
that 26 years ago he obtained a false passport using the
identity of a dead child.
He said that at the time he saw this as "a harmless prank",
never used the passport and later destroyed it.
On Monday Mr Garrett, ACT's law and order spokesman, admitted
he was convicted on assault in Tonga in 2002.
He said he was an innocent victim but was fined $10, and had
been trying to appeal the conviction ever since.
Today he said he obtained the false passport using a method
made known in the novel Day of the Jackal.
"I obtained the birth certificate of a child born around the
time I was born but who died in infancy," he said.
"I used this birth certificate to obtain a passport in that
"To this day I cannot explain the rationale behind my actions
except to say that I was simply curious to see whether such a
thing could be done."
Although the passport was never used and expired, 21 years
later he was arrested along with others following a police
inquiry into passports which had been wrongfully obtained.
That inquiry, he said, followed people believed to be
connected to Israel's security service obtaining passports
using the same method.
"I was duly put before the court and admitted obtaining a
passport by false pretences," he said.
"I was discharged without conviction...the court accepted
that the consequences of a conviction for this offence would
be out of all proportion to the offence."
Mr Garrett said he was also granted permanent name
suppression, and that was why he had been reluctant to answer
"My preliminary legal advice is that for this reason neither
I nor anyone else can comment on this matter outside the
House at this time," he said.
"I am now seeking advice on whether the name suppression
order can be varied or waived so that I can take media
Mr Garrett said he had made many mistakes in his life.
"At the time I committed this offence I gave no thought
whatsoever to the effect it would have on others," he said.
"Following my arrest I wrote letters of apology to the
child's relatives expressing my sincere remorse for the pain
I caused them."