Alleged sexual assault victim of Labour Party staffer 'hugely disappointed' by lawyer's claims

The alleged sexual assault victim of a Labour Party staffer has maintained her claims that lawyer Simon Mitchell was made aware of her allegations.

The complainant, a woman named "Sarah" in an article published by The Spinoff on September 9, says she is struggling to understand why Mitchell would call her claims "untrue" and "not credible". 

She said she is hugely disappointed that Mitchell has made these statements. 

On September 10, Newshub obtained emails sent between March 9 and May 21 showing that Labour was sent details of the sexual assault allegations. 

Sarah said the first of the three emails contained a document outlining the alleged sexual assault in-depth, the attachment titled "to print sexual assault experience". 

Another document contained the complainant's testimony, which also outlines her allegations. 

However Mitchell, who was the chair of the panel which investigated the Labour Party staffer, hired a forensic computer expert to investigate whether a document was attached. 

He said the "the email did not have an attachment" and there is no evidence of the document.

However,  he won't release the findings of his investigation.

The other two emails sent by Sarah to Mitchell were also sent to the two other members of the investigation panel as well as the then Labour Party president Nigel Haworth and another NZ Council member. 

The complainant maintains that Mitchell was present and engaged when she detailed the alleged sexual assault in a testimony during a March interview.

Mitchell said that during the complainant's interview, "at no point did she say that she had been sexually assaulted".

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said QC Maria Dew has finalised the terms of reference for her investigation, but they will not be released, due to the complainants' requests and the request of the respondent.

As for Labour's handling of the complaints, Ardern said the party's lawyers Kensington Swan had nearly completed a piece of work on whether it behaved appropriately in the handling of the complaints.

The Prime Minister also said an experienced victim advocate will be appointed to look at the findings and establish systems "so it does not happen again".

Minister Poto Williams, who has experience working in the sexual and family violence sector, will lead a culture change for Labour and will bring in experts, Ardern added.