Patrick Gower: Todd Barclay's admission means police must reopen case

OPINION: Todd Barclay has provided all the evidence police need to reopen the case against him.

In his short statement last night, Barclay said "I have read Mr English's statement and accept it".

That is an on-the-record admission by Barclay that he secretly recorded his staffer Glenys Dickson.

Barclay has accepted Bill English's statement to police that "he had recordings of her criticising him" and that "he just left the dictaphone on". 

In the statement, Bill English also verifies he sent a text, which we now know said: "He left a dictaphone running that picked up all conversations in the office… The settlement was larger than normal because of the privacy breach."

By accepting the statement, Barclay has effectively accepted that text too.

So in summary: Barclay has admitted leaving the dictaphone on, listening to the recordings, and that it was a privacy breach.

Under section 216B of the Crimes Act, which deals with the "prohibition on use of interception devices", anyone "who intentionally intercepts any private communication by means of an interception device" faces a prison sentence of up to two years.

Remember that Barclay refused to speak to the police during the investigation - and police found there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute.

Police yesterday said: "If any new information is brought to the attention of police then that information will be assessed by the investigating officers as to its relevance to this case."

Barclay's admission is surely the "new information" they need. 

Given Barclay's admission was made so publicly, police should just reopen the case themselves.  

Otherwise Glenys Dickson or some of the disaffected National members in Clutha-Southland could write to the police about this. 

Or a member of the public or an opposition party could bring it to police attention.

The Prime Minister's office will also be looking at this admission closely as a way of forcing Barclay to resign. 

Barclay has admitted the secret recording - the police must act.  

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.

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