The woman who made a historical allegation of rape against former attorney-general Christian Porter asked NSW Police to conduct an interview via Skype two months before her death.
In answers provided to NSW Parliament, NSW Police (NSWPF) revealed the woman contacted detectives from Strikeforce Wyndarra – the operation set up to manage her allegation – on April 1, 2020 to request the Skype interview.
Efforts to interview her in person had been delayed to that point by the COVID pandemic, as she was in Adelaide and the alleged offence took place in Sydney.
Mr Porter, who now holds the Industry and Science portfolio, has strenuously denied the allegation made by the woman and has sued the ABC for defamation.
The information provided by police, under the heading “NSW Police Investigation into Historical Rape Allegation”, says the day after the complainant requested the Skype interview, investigators spoke to her “by way of teleconference” and “options were presented to [her] in relation to obtaining her statement”.
They say “a joint decision by all parties was made not to conduct the interview remotely”.
“There were a number of reasons which led to this decision. The [alleged] victim was understanding and supportive of this decision.”
The woman took her life on June 24, 2020. NSW Police never took her formal statement.
The police responses state that on June 23, the day before her death, the woman “clearly communicated to investigators that she no longer felt able to proceed with the report”.
“The NSWPF did not have a signed statement from the [alleged] victim, hence [there was] no formal allegation to put to the person of interest.
“In keeping with the victim’s wishes no further investigation took place and the person of interest was not interviewed.”
The documents also say that NSW Police made six phone calls to the woman which were not answered, and she made two phone calls to them which were not answered.
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, who asked the questions of Police Commissioner Mick Fuller that led to these supplementary answers, told Four Corners “these answers raise yet more questions about the response of the NSW Police”.
“When you speak to experienced investigators who have dealt with historical allegations they will tell you it’s not perfect but sometimes it’s the only option to take a statement by phone or video link,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“What is very distressing here is that this was an option that was requested by the complainant and open to police but for whatever reason was taken off the table.”
The documents also say NSW Police investigators believed “aspects” of Strike Force Wyndarra “were possibly relevant to the Coronial Investigation” being conducted by South Australia Police into the woman’s death.
“And as a result [they] sought to provide this information [to South Australia Police] as required.”
Earlier this year, the South Australian coroner released a statement indicating he had asked South Australia Police detectives to re-open their investigation into the woman’s death given information that had been provided in media reports.
The documents also show that Strike Force Wyndarra spoke with the woman’s sister and a friend.
The documents say the detectives “did not instigate contact” with the woman’s sister.
“It is relevant to note at this point that during investigators initial meeting with the victim she requested that her family not be made aware of the allegations,” the documents say.
“The victim’s sister, through SAPOL made contact with NSWPF investigators after the victim’s passing.
“On 28 August 2020, the Post Operational Assessment in relation to Strike Force Wyndarra was finalised. This signified the closing of the investigation.”
NSW Police declined to answer further questions from Four Corners about why the decision was made not to conduct the interview remotely.