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Inquiry delay upsets victim's family

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 09:48 30/11/2013

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The family of a rape victim cannot understand why it is taking so long to get an outcome following their complaint to police about comments made by a senior officer.

A complaint was made to police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority in October after Central District Commander Superintendent Russell Gibson described a girl as a "willing party" to sexual abuse that took place when she was between 10 and 12 years old.

The comment was made in a letter to the wife of Palmerston North man Robin Peter Abraham, who was convicted of the girl's rape and sentenced in 2010 to 10 years' jail.

In the 2012 letter to Abraham's wife, Michelle, Mr Gibson wrote, "There is evidence contained within the file which clearly establishes that the young girl was a willing party to these instances, but as I explained to you, this is irrelevant in terms of the charge."

When the letter was brought to media attention this year, Mr Gibson apologised to the girl's family, saying he was "deeply embarrassed" by it.

A family spokeswoman said yesterday she checked up on the matter with the authority and was told they could not give her any information as it had turned into an employment matter and would have to wait until police had finished their investigation.

She had been interviewed by the lawyer tasked with the inquiry in October, she said. She was told he was waiting to hear back from Mr Gibson on a small matter.

She was "definitely not" accepting an apology, and felt Mr Gibson should be axed from his job. A police spokesman said an employment investigation by an independent lawyer was ongoing. He was unsure how long it would take.

A spokeswoman for the authority said it was overseeing the police investigation into Mr Gibson's conduct and would determine if any further action was necessary.

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- Manawatu Standard

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