Man Uses Diplomatic Immunity To Avoid Sexual Assault Charges


A diplomat accused of sexually assaulting a woman in New Zealand avoided charges by claiming diplomatic immunity and returning to his home country.

Many details of the case, including the home country of the diplomat, were suppressed by a judge in New Zealand. Via the Associated Press on Yahoo News:

New Zealand police say the man, who is in his 30s, last month followed a 21-year-old woman [to her home] and assaulted her. They have charged him with burglary and assault with the intent to rape.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it sought a waiver of diplomatic immunity but was rebuffed by the man’s home country, which immediately removed him.

According to the New Zealand Herald, police did inform the victim that the man had invoked diplomatic immunity:

Police spokesman Nick Bohm said the complainant “has been fully informed throughout the process and we are continuing to support her”.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) said the diplomat was immediately sent home after his government refused to waive his immunity.
“The New Zealand Government expects diplomats to respect New Zealand laws. However, under the Vienna Convention there is global recognition that diplomats are entitled to immunity from arrest and detention,” the spokesman said.

There is still a possibility the man could face charges in his home country, according to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

“It’s really difficult for the Government,” Louise Nicholas, survivor advocate for Rape Prevention Education told The Herald. “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 in itself.”

Image via Shutterstock.

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