No domestic abuse charge for principal

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 17:09 08/11/2012

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Police have been forced to defend a decision not to prosecute a domestic violence claim after the woman involved slammed the move. 

Jeanne Jackman, the ex-wife of Peter Clague, principal of Auckland's exclusive Kristin school in Albany, complained to police over an incident at their North Shore home in 2010. 

Clague was today told by police that he would not be charged for common assault, but may be warned when a final report on the case is completed.

Jackman was told the decision this morning and took the unusual step of issuing a media release.

"I am astounded that a person who physically assaults a female is not arrested and charged by police and I believe this decision makes a mockery of calls to address domestic violence," Jackman said.

"Having finally worked up the courage to face the abuse that I received while in the relationship... and seek help from police, I am left very disappointed and amazed at their decision."

A spokesman for North Shore police, who refused to have his name used, said it was "unfortunate" Jackman had issued a statement "before the reasons for the police decision could be put in writing".

He said both parties were informed of the outcome this morning, and this would be followed up in writing later this month when a senior manager overseeing the case returns. 

"Police would like to reassure the public that the Family Violence Policy was taken into full account, the decision over charges was considered by our legal advisors and applied against the Prosecution Service guidelines and the Solicitor General's prosecution guidelines, these policies govern our decisions," he said. 

The spokesman said since the alleged assault occurred more than two years ago police had few options as it was "out of time" for the most appropriate charge. 
"A police warning is the only option remaining. The case was given high level police scrutiny as whatever the outcome it was going to be controversial so we wanted it right first time." 

The historic complaint was lodged two weeks ago during a divorce battle, where Jackman had claimed she is entitled to half of her ex-husband's annual earnings. 

He argued they were not married long enough for her to claim the money.

Philippa Fee, who chairs the Kristin Board, said police had informed the board of their decision, but it understood Clague had not been warned.

She said the board did not want to comment on Jackman's statement, but it would review the police report once it was received. 

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"It is business as usual for each of our three schools and the focus of the Board, principals and staff remains on our students as we move into the all-important conclusion of a busy year," she said.

Jackman said police had not handled her situation properly and she would be complaining to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

- Auckland Now

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