Opinion: Case closed in Andrew Little v John Shewan stoush

Opinion: Case closed in Andrew Little v John Shewan stoush

Should Andrew Little apologise to John Shewan? Shouldn't he? Who cares? Great question. 

Whatever the answer, somehow we've ended up at this point.

So let's visit the facts in a fun timeline:

April 13:  Andrew Little makes statements about John Shewan advising the Bahamas. Here's a quote alleging Mr Shewan "advised a tax haven on how to protect its offshore financial services industry and maintain its tax haven status".

April: Mr Shewan contacted Mr Little to tell him the statement he made was based on false reporting from a Bahamas newspaper. 

Also April: Mr Shewan and Little meet.  Mr Little says Mr Shewan explicitly said he didn't need an apology. 

Fast forward >> (cue to-ing and fro-ing)

June 10: Mr Shewan writes a letter to someone in Mr Little's office saying the following: 

"I have been fair and extremely patient. It is close to two months since Mr Little caused me and my family considerable stress and humiliation.

"My efforts to address the issue in a fair and timely way were responded to by procrastination and vain efforts to fob me off, whereas they could and should have brought a prompt resolution to this matter.

"A correction along the lines you are suggesting would be unacceptable.

"I now request the statement I sent to you yesterday be issued with the following additions: 'I apologise to Mr Shewan for any embarrassment I have caused him through my statements'."

June 14:  Mr Little sends a statement to be checked by Mr Shewan before releasing to the public -- it does not have an apology. 

June 15: Mr Shewan responds saying he accepts the offer to make a statement, provided it's issued as a press release within seven days and that he is advised when it's issued. 

He asks for one change -- that the first words of the statement say "In April", rather than "last month". 

June 18: The statement is released. 

June 19: Mr Little's office informs Mr Shewan that the release has gone out and links to media coverage. Mr Shewan thanks them. 

June 27: Mr Shewan's tax inquiry released by government. 

June 28: Media ask Mr Little if he'll apologise to Mr Shewan after seeing his report -- he says no, he was never asked. Mr Shewan says he was. 

Mr Little goes into lockdown, only releasing statements. 

June 29: Mr Little gives evidence Mr Shewan gave tick of approval. 

It was a game of semantics. 

In the middle of all that though was a leader in hiding. This could have all been avoided. 

Until he produced that tiny piece of evidence it looked like he was lying. That's something Mr Little calls the Prime Minister out on, and if Little's a prime minister in waiting, then he needs to be able to show that he doesn't lie. 

Today he did that, and I take my hat off to him.

However, it shouldn't have taken the public battle to get here, it was a simple case of "I did exactly what I was asked -- here, let me show you."  

But you can guarantee when there are lawyers involved, things get arduous. 

Anyway, it's over now. Both parties seem happy. Case closed.