Nose broken, immunity intact? United States diplomat reportedly leaves NZ despite police probe
- Author: Joanne Flowers Mar 20, 2017,
Mar 20, 2017, 5:41
The ministry appealed to the USA embassy to waive the man's immunity on the same day, but the United States government refused, and on Friday MFAT officials requested the diplomat leave New Zealand immediately.
The staffer was allegedly involved in an incident on March 12.
The attache, identified in local media as Colin White, is believe to have been kicked out of the country after police asked to question him regarding an incident that left him with a broken nose and a black eye.
Prof Gillespie said while the United States assessed how serious the incident was, all police could do was investigate. They said the American had left the scene before police arrived, and nobody was taken into custody.
They said they were working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which asked the USA to waive immunity on Monday.
The ministry said in a statement that it then asked the U.S. Embassy to remove the man from New Zealand.
The US government has on Friday declined to waive the diplomat's immunity.
The ministry agreed to the request because the alleged crime was serious, meaning one which carries a penalty of imprisonment of one year of more.
A U.S. embassy official said Saturday the man had left New Zealand.
"I was kept informed of MFAT's decision, and I am satisfied with the way the Ministry has conducted this process".
Foreign diplomats in New Zealand are normally immune from criminal prosecution, under reciprocal global arrangements.
The refusal to waive immunity is disappointing and as a result MFAT has asked that the diplomat be withdrawn from New Zealand.
1 News understands Mr White's wife - who is also a diplomat - and children have already left.
"Any allegations of wrongdoing are always fully investigated".
In turn, the USA embassy told the news outlet: "We take seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of USA government personnel".
The U.S. Embassy in Wellington is without a permanent ambassador after Mark Gilbert, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, was recalled in January by the administration of President Donald Trump.