Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, January 25th, 2019 - 205 comments
Categories: articles, journalism, Media, national, newspapers, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags: david fisher, jami-lee ross, sarah dowie
The secret is now out. A few of us on the left have known the identity for months but have chosen not to publish it. The next time that someone says the left is just like the right remind them of this.
David Fisher in the Herald has the details:
Police are investigating a text message, allegedly sent from the phone of National Party MP Sarah Dowie, to her former colleague and ex lover Jami-Lee Ross.
The police investigation is said to focus on whether the text message – which came after the break-up of their extra-marital relationship – constituted an incitement to self-harm, which is punishable by up to three years in prison.
Ross, 33, has previously named Invercargill MP Dowie, 43, as one of the women with whom he had an extra-marital relationship while National MP for Botany.
The text message included the words: “You deserve to die.”
Ross initially received the message in August but has claimed reading it two months later led to considering self-harm. He was taken into mental health care shortly after.
The text message raised questions over whether there was a breach of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, passed under National and voted for by Dowie. The law regulated digital communications, including text messages, making it illegal to urge someone to self-harm.
Police are still investigating. I am not sure why it should take so long. Normally all you need is a copy of the text, a statement from Ross and see if Dowie wants to make a statement.
No doubt the investigation will look at the Crimes Act and specifically section 179 which prohibits inciting procuring or counselling suicide and the Harmful Digital Communications Act and specifically section 22 which prohibits causing harm by posting a digital communication. The first offence has a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and the second two years. Dowie is not looking at jail time, in fact on the scale of things I don’t actually think it warrants a conviction given the circumstances, but if a conviction occurs then her seat will be vacated.
Of course there is also the reputational judgments that will be made. This Southland Times editorial (Dowie is the Invercargill MP) from November last year hinted darkly that it knew of Dowie’s role and talked about hypocrisy.
There’s nothing worse than politicians who are hypocrites, and right now the National Party falls right into that category.
If you ever wanted to read about a cop-out, here’s a cracker one for you.
The National Party, it seems, is “moving on”.
Well, surely the public deserves more than the glib response that came from its chief press secretary on Friday.
Moving on from what exactly?
An editorial published on October 25 raised the point that another issue had arisen from the Jami-Lee Ross saga, in relation to the “You deserve to die” text, said to be from a colleague with whom he acknowledged he had been having an affair.
Was it possible this text could be a breach of the Harmful Digital Communication Act, and could the sender of the text really stay in her role as an MP?
And it responded to National’s glib reply by saying this:
Don’t forget that front and centre of National’s core values for building a society are two important words. Personal Responsibility.
Where is the personal responsibility of a party that won’t answer questions. And where is the personal responsibility of the MP who reportedly sent the “you deserve to die” text?
Surely by now the MP in question would front up and take personal responsibility.
This will be yet another test of Simon Bridges’ leadership abilities or lack thereof.
But let’s get on with the media circus that will no doubt erupt.
Please keep your comments respectful.