Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

New top cop's apology 'not personal enough'

Mike Bush - new police commissioner.
Mike Bush - new police commissioner.

The newly appointed police commissioner is not intending to apologise directly to Arthur Allan Thomas despite a plea from his brother, who says the public apology was "half-hearted''.

Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Bush, who will take over from Police Commissioner Peter Marshall in April, apologised yesterday for a eulogy last April in which he praised the integrity of retired Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry found Mr Hutton had planted evidence used to convict Arthur Thomas of the 1970 murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe.

Mr Thomas' brother, Des Thomas, yesterday called on Mr Bush to apologise directly.

But police spokesman Grant Ogilvie said today that Mr Bush did not intend to do anything more than yesterday's public apology.

"I'm not aware that he has any intention of saying anything beyond what he said yesterday at this time.''

The public apology was, in a way, "actually more significant'' than a direct apology, Mr Ogilvie added.

Des Thomas said it was "not right'' for Mr Bush not to apologise directly.

"I spoke to Arthur yesterday and he wants an apology.''

He questioned the sincerity of the public apology.

"To me, this is only a half-hearted apology, really. He doesn't even mention Arthur's name. And why is it now - because he's on a $600,000 job?

"It's not personal enough. Mike Bush should be sending Arthur an apology in writing.''

Des Thomas also wanted to know whether Mr Bush accepted all the Commission of Inquiry's findings into the Crewe murder investigation.

"It's no good having a commissioner of police here that's just going to ignore those findings and do nothing about police malpractice and corruption,'' he said.

"If Mike Bush wants to tidy up the police, that's where he's got to start.''

Police are undertaking a review into the Crewe murders but Mr Bush said he would not take any part in that.

Mr Bush said yesterday that the eulogy - in which he said Mr Hutton had "integrity beyond reproach'' - was raised with him during the selection interviews for commissioner.

"My response was that the eulogy was given with the best of intentions, at a private funeral, to a grieving wife, children and grandchildren. But in hindsight, I can see how others interpreted that.

"There was offence caused to others. I understand that and I actually apologise for any offence that was caused by a deputy commissioner making those comments.''

- Additional reporting: Claire Trevett of the NZ Herald

- NZ Herald

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