Act MP David Garrett today made a statement to Parliament admitting he had created a false identity in the 1980s by applying for a passport in the name of a dead child.
A transcript of his statement follows.
Twenty-six years ago while living a very different life I foolishly undertook what I naively saw as a harmless prank. It was one that was later to have repercussions both for me personally and for others who did not deserve to be hurt by my thoughtless actions.
Using a method made known by the publication of the novel
Day of the Jackal
I obtained the birth certificate of a child born around the time I was born but who died in infancy. I used this birth certificate to obtain a passport in that child's name.
To this day I cannot explain the rationale behind my actions except to say that I was simply curious to see whether such a thing could be done.
I never used the passport for any purpose. It duly expired having never been used and I later destroyed it.
Twenty-one years after I obtained the passport and many years after it had expired I was arrested along with a number of others following a police inquiry into passports which had been wrongfully obtained.
This inquiry followed the obtaining by Israelis believed to be connected to that country's intelligence service of a number of passports using the same method I had used.
I was duly put before the court, admitted obtaining a passport by false pretences.
After submissions by my lawyer I was discharged without conviction. The court accepted that the consequences of the conviction for this offence would have consequences out of all proportion to the offending.
I was also granted permanent name suppression.
My reluctance to answer media questions was due to my uncertainty regarding the extent of coverage of the suppression order.
My preliminary legal advice is that for this reason neither I nor anyone else may comment further on this matter outside of the House at this time.
I am now seeking advice on whether the name suppression order can be varied or waived so that I may take media questions.
I have made many mistakes in my life, none more so than this. At the time I committed this offence I gave no thought whatsoever to effect it would have on others.
Following my arrest I wrote letters of apology to the child's relatives expressing my sincere remorse for the pain I have caused them.
The regret I feel at the hurt which I unwittingly caused the family of the deceased child is something I carry with me today and will continue to carry for the rest of my life.
I cannot wind back the clock but I sincerely wish that I could.