Police defend search of Heather du Plessis-Allan's home
Police have defended their search of TV3 journalist and Story presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan's Wellington apartment, saying requests to speak to MediaWorks staff were declined.
Officers from Auckland flew to the capital yesterday looking for a handwriting sample at du Plessis-Allan and her broadcaster husband Barry Soper's apartment.
They're investigating alleged forgery and deception following an item featured on Story in which du Plessis-Allan managed to order a gun online to prove how easy it was to obtain a firearm.
Following the story, which aired in October, police were quick to close the loophole.
Yesterday, they were criticised by politicians over the search, many of which couldn't see the reasoning behind it.
But in a statement this afternoon Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers reiterated the illegal purchase of a firearm by deception is a serious offence punishable by imprisonment.
He says police have a responsibility to apply the law equally and conduct a full and thorough investigation into such allegations "regardless of the circumstances or the individuals involved".
Police has asked to speak to relevant MediaWorks staff, but because those requests were declined, Supt Chambers said other steps were necessary to get the required information for the investigation.
"[This] included the execution of search warrants."
MediaWorks group chief executive Mark Weldon says it is "perfectly normal" for police to conduct their investigation.
"[We stand] by the Story team and their focus on the flaw in the mail order gun system that allowed people to buy guns without valid firearms licences," he says.
"It was an important piece of journalism and it has resulted in immediate changes to the rules around the mail order system which have now addressed that serious flaw."