Newstalk ZB has just reported that Bill Liu has been acquiited of all counts. Justice Tim Brewer has ruled orally that the Crown was unable to prove the allegations of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, noting that proving a high level of suspicion fell short of the Crown's burden of proof.
Given that the charges faced by Liu related to the fradulent use of documents, we don't think that this verdict makes any material difference to Shane Jones. Justice Brewer has made that clear in his oral decision. The revelation on Monday that Liu paid the brother of a senior Jones staffer $10,000 to handle his citizenship application only muddies the waters further. So does Cameron Slater's revelation this morning that the QC that Shane Jones consulted as he made the decision on Liu's application also acted for Dover Samuels who twice wrote in support of Liu's application.
We believe that the way forward here is for a Judicial Inquiry to be set up, and for all aspects of this case to be examined; the decision, the process and the personnel involved. The Terms of Reference for the Auditor-General's inquiry are, in our opinion inadequate. A full indepeandant inquiry is needed to restore faith in the integrity of the system by which decisions on New Zealand citizenship are made.
UPDATE: David Shearer confirms that Bill Liu's acquittal will have no effect on the inquiry he has called for with regard to Shane Jones.