Envoy invokes immunity to escape sex crime charge in New Zealand

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 12:43am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 12:43am


A foreign diplomat facing sex charges in New Zealand has escaped prosecution after invoking diplomatic immunity.

Neither the man's name nor his home country have been released, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said pleas to the envoy's government to let him appear in court were rejected.

"The country invoked diplomatic immunity. The person has gone back to their home country. My understanding is that there is an investigation being undertaken in their home country," Key said.

Police said the man, aged in his 30s, was arrested in the capital, Wellington, last month and charged with assault with intent to rape after he followed a 21-year-old woman home.

The envoy was also charged with burglary.

Under the rules of the Vienna Convention, diplomats cannot be arrested or detained in foreign countries.

"Our government should be demanding from the country concerned that it investigates the charge properly. That may include New Zealand police providing the evidence collected to enable a criminal prosecution," Labour's foreign affairs spokesman, David Shearer, said.

A ministry of foreign affairs spokesman told Radio New Zealand that the diplomat was immediately sent home after his government refused to waive his immunity.