By 3news.co.nz staff
ACT MP David Garrett has admitted obtaining a passport with a false name using the birth certificate of a dead baby.
Garrett made the admission to Parliament this afternoon after One News made fresh allegations about past criminal charges against the hardline law and order spokesman.
He said he got the idea from the plot of Frederick Forsyth's 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal, which was later made into a film.
"To this day I cannot explain the rationale behind my actions, except to say I was curious to see if it could be done," he told Parliament.
He said the passport expired without being used for any purpose. It was later destroyed.
Earlier today, ACT leader Rodney Hide confirmed that Garrett had been charged with the offence of creating a false ID.
He was discharged without conviction 21 years after creating a fake ID card, saying the judge accepted that it was the "prank" of a young man.
Garrett was arrested as part of a police inquiry into passports, which had been wrongly obtained.
This inquiry was linked to an Israeli intelligence service looking into fake passports obtained using the same methods as Garrett had employed.
ACT leader Rodney Hide told media that he was aware of the charge before the election, before Garrett was made ACT’s law and order spokesperson.
Revelations of the historic charge come just two days after Campbell Live revealed that Garrett had an assault conviction from 2002 after an altercation in a Tongan bar.
Garrett told Parliament he had not thought about how his actions would affect others when using the dead baby's birth certificate.
He said he wrote letters of apology, expressing his "sincere remorse", to the relatives of the deceased.
"The regret I feel at the hurt at which I unwittingly caused the family of the deceased child is something I carry with me today, and will continue to carry with me for the rest of my life," he said.
At the time of his discharge, Garrett received name suppression. He says this is why he has not spoken to the media about the issue.
"I am now seeking advice on whether the name suppression order can be varied or waived so that I may take media questions."
In 2006, Tim Selwyn was jailed for 17 months on a number of charges, including passport fraud. Selwyn also used the name of a dead baby.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs' website, "If convicted of offences committed since 2002, people face penalties of up to ten years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000 under passport legislation passed in that year."
source: newshub archive