The police rain on Craig Thomson’s PR push
Craig Thomson’s counter offensive strategy was based on attracting public attention to his case this week. To his distress, the Victorian Police beat him to it.
The raid on his central NSW coast home this morning was unexpected and will underline the perception that the former Labor MP, now an independent, has something to hide.
Whatever the objective of the raid, there will be a view that police had to strike early in the morning to get information Mr Thomson would not otherwise provide.
The raid was not totally unprecedented. In March, 2007, Australian Federal Police investigating claims of misuse of allowances raided the offices of three federal Liberal MPs, Andrew Laming, Ross Vasta and Gary Hargraves.
No charges were ever laid after the investigation.
There have been no charges proposed against Mr Thomson from police investigations in NSW and Victoria, but the raid today will be seen as a preparation for some sort of formal indictment.
The Opposition was quick to spread that notion.
It was a “significant development,” according to Liberal Senate leader Eric Abetz.
And Opposition Leader Tony Abbott commended the police for looking after the money of low-paid workers, a reference to Health Services Union members and Mr Thomson’s management of their funds while he was national secretary.
Mr Thomson today repeated his declaration of innocence.
He and his lawyer Chris McArdle had planned to go on the front foot this week and aggressively insist on that innocence. The strategy has been wrecked by the early morning police visit by NSW officers assisting their Victorian colleagues.
Lawyer Mr McArdle today questioned the police’s strategy, asking, “Is the purpose of the raid the administration of justice or… (the) continuing the campaign against my client?”
That will be a lonely contention as the Thomson legal bandwagon rolls on, apparently without a clear destination.
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