Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Revealed: Chuang's computer criminal past

Bevan Chung had a prior conviction for logging in to the email of the former head of Auckland Museum. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Bevan Chung had a prior conviction for logging in to the email of the former head of Auckland Museum. Photo / Herald on Sunday

The woman who had an affair with Auckland Mayor Len Brown has a criminal conviction for logging into the email of the former head of the Auckland Museum.

Dr Vanda Vitali was heavily criticised during a major restructuring at the museum which led to more than 100 staff being made redundant in 2008, including Bevan Chuang who worked as a personal assistant to a senior executive for more than three years.

The day after she lost her job, Ms Chuang logged into the museum's internal email system under the name of Dr Vitali - including her confidential password - from her home computer.

She did not open any emails but sent a text message containing the supposedly secret log-in details to another staff member who had also lost his job.

The text also carried a warning to anyone who wanted to check the director's emails to "do it outside so no one can check your IP address" and identify where the security breach occurred.

That person opened 462 emails belonging to Dr Vitali, including many of a personal nature and others which were highly confidential.

Many of the emails were printed but the police obtained no evidence of whether they were passed to others.

Ms Chuang was charged with unlawfully accessing a computer system and later pleaded guilty. Judge Phil Gittos refused her bid to be discharged without conviction in the Auckland District Court and she was fined $1000 to be paid to the museum.

In an affidavit to support her bid to escape a conviction, Ms Chuang said she was under "considerable stress" from a growing workload and was distressed by unsuccessfully applying for three positions at the museum when her role was cut.

She said there had been a number of leaks to the media during the redundancy plans and a former contractor asked her to provide information about the employment restructuring, which she supplied after her contract was not renewed.

"I accept that I was very naive by offering to help and certainly wasn't thinking about the consequences. I have no excuse for what happened and take full responsibility. I can only express my deepest regret for my actions and confirm this will never happen again."

Read more:
Chuang: I felt pressured to reveal Brown affair
Len Brown's daughters: 'We stand by Dad'
Rival drags up Brown credit-card use

- NZ Herald

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