Your Centre for New Zealand News

Join the Newsletter

Kamikaze Damage Control: Have Greens overstepped the delicate line of politicians interfering with scales of justice in Golriz Ghahraman investigation?

In brief
  • The Greens face controversy over involvement with the justice process related to Golriz Ghahraman’s alleged shoplifting.
  • Reaching out to Scotties Boutique looks like political interference, at best, but could it perhaps be seen as witness tampering?
  • Mishandling the situation could have serious political consequences for both Ghahraman and the Greens.

Greens now in a no win situation? 

The Green Party has opened itself up to a very bad look here. 

As news broke of the 23 December 2023 incident (with a second incident now coming to light) and Ghahraman was stood down from her shadow portfolios, including Justice, the Greens issued a statement saying they were aware of the allegations and had reached out to the luxury fashion store involved, Scotties Boutique, to “better understand and address the situation”.

Those last three words give rise to an inference that there was something the Greens could discuss with the boutique that de-escalated the matter.

No matter how you slice it, if they settle with no charges, it is a bad look for the Greens as there is a lot of room for suspicions along the lines  of “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” 

But it can also be even more serious than that

The Crimes Act says attempting to settle a criminal matter directly with a complainant is potentially interfering with the course of justice:

“117 Corrupting juries and witnesses

Everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who—

(a)    dissuades or attempts to dissuade a person, by threats, bribes, or other corrupt means, from giving evidence in any cause or matter (whether civil or criminal, and whether tried or to be tried in New Zealand or in an overseas jurisdiction);”

The idea of approaching the store directly to say “what can we do?” may have seemed good at the time, but the Green Party may not have appreciated the legal risk to themselves, let alone the optics.

Kamikaze Damage Control: Have Greens overstepped the delicate line of politicians interfering with scales of justice in Golriz Ghahraman investigation? - Centrist
Did the Greens actions after Ghahraman’s incident became known leave the Party in a no-win situation? Image: Green Party

Politicians are supposed to be very attuned to the separation of powers between the legislators and the judicial process. The time for pleading “misunderstanding, can we sort this out?” expired when Scotties Boutique phoned police.

Who knew what and when? 

Police won’t say when they became involved, but presumably it was on 23 December because any delay would imply haggling had already taken place and failed before the Greens issued their statement yesterday, in which case why would you allude to it as an option again?

The prospect of CCTV footage emerging if the matter leads to prosecution is also a factor.

On top of all this, there are now very real questions about what the Greens knew and when. The alleged shoplifting happened on 23 December, the Saturday before Christmas, nearly three weeks ago, but the Greens only entered damage control mode when NewstalkZB Plus editor Phillip Crump broke the story yesterday.

As with so many political indiscretions, the initial offence may be “unfortunate”, but the mishandling of it is not only tragic – it’s almost always politically fatal to not just the main “offender” but also those in the immediate blast zone.

It needs to be stressed that Ghahraman, who’s flown overseas with friends, has not yet been charged let alone had the evidence tested. But it is also notable that the clumsy approach to the store risks unfairly impugning the store’s integrity as well, even if it doesn’t ultimately reach a witness tampering threshold. 

Bottom line? 

It looks like a party claiming to represent the low paid and aiming to end the use of fossil fuels, have MPs that like to enjoy the high life. And that, ultimately, may be the public’s take home message.

Image: GreenPartyNZ

Enjoyed this story? Share it around.​

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Read More

NEWS STORIES

Sign up for our free newsletter

Receive curated lists of news links and easy-to-digest summaries from independent, alternative and mainstream media about issues affect New Zealanders.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Receive curated lists of news summaries from independent, alternative and mainstream media about issues affecting New Zealanders.

You’ll also receive our NZ News Essentials newsletter. You can unsubscribe from either at any time.