New details in Porter allegations revealed
A former boyfriend of the Adelaide woman who accused Attorney-General Christian Porter of an alleged rape has revealed for the first time that she had relevant discussions with him in 1989, the year after the alleged incident, and is calling for an independent investigation into the matter.
In a statement detailing his contact with the woman in the 1980s and his conversations with Mr Porter in the early 1990s, Macquarie Group managing director James Hooke has also offered to co-operate with any inquiry.
Mr Porter has strenuously denied the allegations and insists the events described by the accuser never happened.
Mr Hooke does not detail in his statement exactly what the Adelaide woman, whose name has been withheld at the request of the family, told him in 1989. But it suggests the discussions came in stages.
In the statement provided to news.com.au, he notes that he is the man referred to as "James" in the woman's unsworn statement and the extracts from her diaries.
He also claims that he had relevant discussions with Mr Porter about his relationship with the woman in 1992 in Perth and subsequently. Mr Porter strenuously denies the rape allegation.
"I continue to be devastated by the untimely death of my very dear friend, and I am enormously concerned for the privacy and dignity of her family,'' Mr Hooke said.
"I am also concerned for the wellbeing of Christian Porter. I have known all of them for approximately 30 years. We all find ourselves at a very upsetting time.
"Mine is just one set of recollections, and I am aware of the fallibility of human memory, however unintentional.
"That said, I have what I consider to be clear recollections of relevant discussions I had with her over the years from mid-1988 until her death.
"I also have what I consider to be clear recollections of relevant discussions I had with Christian Porter from April 1992 in Perth and through the mid-1990s."
Mr Hooke, a trained lawyer, is a senior managing director with Macquarie Group. He is a former CEO of the $5 billion Macquarie-managed Australian Stock Exchange listed toll road company, Atlas Arteria.
He is also a former Chief Executive Officer of the Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation, based in New York. He has also served in various positions with Fairfax Media Limited (now part of Nine Entertainment Co.), Bain & Company management consultants, and Phillips Fox Solicitors.
His statement is particularly significant because it represents the first time any witness has come forward to allege that the woman had discussions about the alleged incident decades ago and follows media claims - rejected by her close friends - that her memories were "freshly minted" and may be inspired by repressed memory theory.
"The NSW Police have determined that a criminal prosecution is not possible in this case. I made myself known to the NSW Police after her death and I understand why they were unable to interview me,'' Mr Hooke said.
"In relation to any criminal prosecution, Christian Porter was manifestly and appropriately entitled to the presumption of innocence - it is essential to the rule of law.
"In relation to any investigation of the important non-criminal aspects of this matter, I support an inquiry, like either that conducted by three retired eminent judges after Justice Lionel Murphy was acquitted of charges or that conducted by Dr Vivienne Thom into allegations about Justice Heydon. I am willing to testify under oath at any appropriately convened inquiry."
Mr Hooke also suggests that if the Prime Minister was to reconsider his opposition to an independent inquiry, it would provide a circuit breaker to the "trial by media" that Mr Porter has complained of in his press conference.
"While I fully support the freedom of the press, I do not believe that the media is the optimal forum in which to investigate a situation of this sensitivity and significance."
In her diaries that are attached to her unsworn affidavit that were sent anonymously to the Prime Minister, the accuser discusses whether to tell "James" about the alleged rape in 1991. She said she had been in a relationship James with previously.
"How can I tell this tale?" she writes in her diary in January 1991. "Who to? James - maybe … if we ever get back together."
News.com.au put Hooke's statement to Mr Porter for comment, and a spokesperson said: "As noted at his press conference on 3 March, the Attorney-General is on medical leave. He does not propose to comment further."
Earlier, NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller revealed on Friday why the police had chosen not to interview Mr Porter about the historical rape claims.
In evidence to NSW Parliament, Commissioner Fuller also confirmed that COVID restrictions stopped police from being able to take a sworn statement from the woman before her death.
She withdrew the complaint in an email to NSW police just 24 hours before her suicide in June, 2020 and her family home.
After Strikeforce Wyndarra was formed to investigate the claims, Commissioner Fuller said he did not alert the Morrison Government or any other politicians.
"I made no contact personally with anyone outside of the organisation in relation to it. I had a very high level discussion with Deputy Commissioner David Hudson. But at that stage, the, the, the lady was unsure in terms of what action she wanted,'' he said.
"Absolutely, from my perspective 100 per cent zero contact.
"A historic sexual assault, statement is one that is extremely complicated. It is not a simple statement. It is not something that you would do justice, taking it over the phone. And there's still the challenge of putting it in a statement admissible form and sending that and having it sign, which could possibly be done. But, they are complex investigations, as we know, and you really need to ensure that the alleged victim statement is at its strongest to stand the test of possible scrutiny."
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Commissioner Fuller has previously indicated it is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to investigate such matters after the complainant dies.
"The alleged victim no longer wanted to proceed which is not unusual in these matters," he said. "It takes enormous courage for people to come forward and it is a very challenging journey on the just through the justice system for victims. And it's not unusual for victims to, even after they've given a statement, to withdraw their complaint in those matters.
"We always follow what the victim wants so that doesn't mean we still don't apply victim care and welfare services. It's not that the journey finishes but unfortunately in this case and tragically she took her life the next day."
Commissioner Fuller said as a broad approach, the NSW police were "pro-prosecution"
"I would say to you and I'll give you these figures, I think we have of the 100 per cent of complaints we get of adult sexual assault are able to proceed on 10 per cent. And I think we win 10 per cent of those at trial right.
"So it is hard, and it's a hard journey for the victim, it's only often when you have other evidence, forensic independent witnesses who almost saw the crime that we are able to secure conviction. And I think I said this in the media is that I understand the interest in this but don't let it be lost on what we need to change is the journey for victims in the justice system."
Originally published as New details in Porter allegations revealed