This sort of reporting is what we expect from Stuff, but have always held Radio NZ in higher esteem, so it is disappointing. Nigel Wilson says, “It is dangerous when journalists put themselves in the story as Ms Hutton has done. It reads more like a crusade than an independent piece of reporting.” They have 2 weeks to respond satisfactorily or we then take it to the Media Council.
Complaint about articles by Catherine Hutton of your organisation.
I refer to the articles on your website entitled “Women complained against former Kāpiti councillor David Scott for years, documents reveal” and “Restraining order sought against former Kāpiti Coast district councillor David Scott”, dated 14 August and 20 August respectively.
It is obvious that most of the content of these takes the form of one or more statements that have been been e-mailed by the instigator of the sexual assault complaint from April 2017 to your organisation (and probably others) as a result of an announcement by David Scott last week that he intends to seek reelection to the Kapiti council seat he held up till June. Your reporter Ms Hutton has clearly accepted them at face value and published them without doing the requisite investigation by discussing with those who have a contrary view, and including those views, as is required of a news organisation like yours.
The second article also names Waikanae Watch specifically in this woman’s allegations, but we have not received any communication from your reporter.
The articles by Ms Hutton lacked balance, and did not give David Scott an equal right of reply to all the accusations which that woman has leveled, and not only at him but at anyone who has said that they believe he is innocent and was set up by senior council members who wanted to get rid of him because he was probing into their believed corrupt practices.
The extent of Dr Scott’s responses in Hutton’s articles is confined to two short lines: “Scott said he wasn’t clear why she was going to court.” and “”I’m not clear what her grudge is or why she is still thinking about me,” he said.”
Because Waikanae Watch has been the only media outlet to provide another side to the case that questions the veracity of the complainant, Ms Hutton’s article tries to implicate us with harassment. Since when has questioning the legal process been considered harassment? Dr Scott has never written anything for us on the matter, nor directed or advised anyone to do so; what reporting there has been comes from first-hand observations as well as lengthy discussions with several people close to the situation, none of whom Ms Hutton bothered to contact.
Neither does Radio NZ state that David Scott has endured over two years of abuse from his being front page / headline news since 25 April 2017. Your reporting at this stage is an interference in the electoral process, which raises not only the vindictive motives of the complainant, but challenges your organisation’s integrity.
There are many points that can be made about that women’s statements as repeated by Ms Hutton, but here a just a few:
There was never at any time any “mob” of supporters of David Scott at the courtrooms or the council chamber. At the most there would have been half a dozen pensioners who said and did nothing other than speak quietly to each other. At the first trial day hearing she claimed to the court there was a “mob” outside and she demanded to come in through the rear entrance. When two of our readers arrived there, the only people outside the court on the footpath were an elderly Maori man with a guitar and two youths. No “mob”. She claims she was “glared at”. When, by whom and in what circumstances?
The complainant on the other hand had a “mob” of her own at a hearing in the Porirua District Court for Kerry Bolton at which I was in the public gallery, the one at which the complainant falsely claimed Kerry Bolton’s friends threatened her.
She further alleges there was a telephone smear campaign, but according to an Official Information request response from the KCDC, there was only one call from one elderly woman who said she knows her and her family. The “phone smear campaign” is simply one of that woman’s many fabrications which your reporter has repeated.
As we reported in one of our very recent posts, David Scott was not involved in any way with the mannequins exhibit of late April 2017. In fact it was David Scott who persuaded the person responsible for them, Dale Evans, to take the mannequins away and helped him do so. This fact has been stated publicly many times before, but the contrary claim has become a fixed idea among certain journalists.
The woman’s claim in an affidavit in support of her restraining order application that she and her husband were threatened by David Scott and another pensioner to the extent that they required police protection is certainly another falsehood, and the matter is presently before the Independent Police Conduct Authority to determine whether there was any police involvement as she claims, or whether it is yet another of her lies. Ms Hutton cared not to establish that from anyone.
There is an insinuation that Scott continues to try to make contact with family members of the woman, but no evidence has been presented, again your reporter merely takes the word of the complainant.
Your reporter’s presenting of the woman’s statement that “elected officials aren’t held to the same standards as council employees” is absurd. In fact, they are obviously put far more in the media spotlight for the most trivial transgressions than council employees ever are. However, that is an opinion which your reporter is entitled to; the seriously unbalanced aspects of your reporter’s articles are those stated above.
We expect the remedy of a presentation of what is stated above, and more, to balance the vexatious litigant’s side of the story.