'They got the wrong guy' - Garrett

By Patrick Gower

It's a classic case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

Hardline ACT MP David Garrett led the campaign for the three strikes legislation but he never mentioned having a criminal conviction from a fight in Tonga in 2002.

His explanation: they got the wrong guy.

David Garrett spends his time talking tough on criminals; today he was forced to admit that he is actually one himself.

“I have a conviction for a minor assault,” he says.

It comes out of an alleged bar room brawl in Tonga, and while he didn't get to talk his way out of it on the night – he is now trying to wriggle out of the resulting conviction.

“I was convicted in the Magistrates Court on perjured evidence, and I have the stigma of a $10 fine,” he says.

Garrett paid the fine instead of serving three days in a Tongan jail – it's a punishment he would usually say was soft.

“What we need in fact is more imprisonment not less, the policies of treat criminals as though they need therapy and release them to some sort of community care simply hasn't worked,” Garrett is quoted as saying.

Well it worked for him; Garrett says that is because in all of this, he is actually the victim.

He says the other man convicted – Tongan psychiatrist Dr Mapa Puloka – attacked him from behind.

“The next thing I knew was a flash in my head, an explosion of light, I'm sorry if that sounds melodramatic, and I was on the deck – I didn't actually know what had happened,” he says.

Garrett has always been ready to argue for his three strikes legislation but the assault conviction has been kept a secret.

“He should have been at least up front about that,” says Labour leader Phil Goff. “He is the law and order spokesman, he takes a hardline, he has a conviction, he didn't disclose it.”

So the ACT Party has another strike against it.

First, its perk-busting leader Rodney Hide was busted using perks, and now its law and order hardliner turns out to have a conviction.

It's another blow for a party struggling to keep its credibility.

3 News

source: newshub archive