Diplomats involved in dozens of alleged crimes

3:52 pm on 6 February 2016

The report into the handling of an indecency charge against a Malaysian defence attaché reveals there have been 62 alleged crimes involving diplomats and their families in the past two decades.

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Photo: POOL / Fairfax NZ

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully released the report into diplomatic immunity issues yesterday, a day after Mohammad Rizalman was sentenced to nine months home detention for indecent assault.

There have been 62 crimes reported in the past 20 years involving foreign diplomats - 25 of them of a serious violent or sexual nature, the report said.

Immunity was sought for 13 instances and a waiver was granted for seven.

Incidents of a serious criminal nature were relatively rare, the report said.

On May 9, 2014, Rizalman followed a Wellington woman home and entered her bedroom without his trousers and underpants.

After being charged over the incident Rizalman went back to Malaysia, and later returned to New Zealand to face trial.

The report, written by former Treasury Secretary John Whitehead, found the Malaysian government was confused about the New Zealand government's intentions in this case because of one particular email from a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff member which was ambiguous.

This email included the statement that if Rizalman returned to Malaysia, that would be the end of the matter.