Oct 1, 2008

Stuff Picks Up Hooton's Info

This from Stuff

Police knew of the alleged theft of emails from former National leader Don Brash a year before they began investigating them, an Official Information Act (OIA) release revealed today.
The request to police for information on their inquiry came from Dr Brash's former adviser Matthew Hooton.
Material released by him showed the police went to great lengths to resist saying anything about the investigation.
Dr Brash's emails and other internal party material hit the headlines in 2006 when they formed the basis of Nicky Hager's book The Hollow Men.
In his book Hager said Dr Brash's emails were leaked to him by several concerned National Party members and MPs. A police inquiry turned up nothing to prove or disprove this.
National has always maintained the material was stolen.
Police today said in their reply to the OIA request that they were first notified of the alleged theft on August 30, 2005 and began their official investigation on September 28, 2006.
Dr Brash said in September 2006 that he had made a formal complaint, which was likely to have sparked the move to take up the matter.
The police refused to release any part of their files on the investigation saying it was likely to prejudice the maintenance of law and breach an obligation of confidence.
The letter said while the matter was not being investigated at present the file remained open and was not closed.
In April, Wellington police district crime services manager Detective Inspector Harry Quinn said the case was mystery.
"We have eliminated the suggestion that an external 'computer hacker' had breached the computer security within Parliament, but there remains many other potential ways in which the crimes could have occurred," Mr Quinn said at the time.
Police interviewed parliamentary computer staff, parliamentary security staff, cleaners, Dr Brash's staff, politicians, journalists and friends of Dr Brash.
"The file is closed until someone comes forward with some compelling evidence," Mr Quinn said then.
Material released with the letter shows the police resisted, for more than a year, releasing even the most basic information about when the inquiry started.
They continued to say that naming the dates would prejudice the inquiry and it was only after repeated interventions by the Office of the Ombudsman that they released the information.