Alf has alerted British authorities to his suspicions about the real identity of one of their best known police officers.
He refers, of course, to Inspector Frost, a gritty cop (and much admired by the British people) who did his crime-busting thing in Denton, in the British Midlands.
Alf suspects the real Inspector Frost is none other than a disgraced New Zealand member of Parliament, who landed his job as an MP not because he was popular with his electorate, but because the ACT Party saw fit to place him fairly high on its list.
The MP is known in this country as David Garrett, although Alf does not discount the possibility this might be an alias.
Unlike Inspector Frost, Garrett is a bloke who would have no show of winning votes in Eketahuna North, and – Alf wold venture – would be unlikely to attract votes anywhere else in this country if he stood for election in a constituency.
But he does have a talent for masquerading as someone else and is known at least once to have stolen a dead baby’s identity to obtain a passport 26 years ago.
It also transpires he is not too strong in the candour department, and may well have slipped up with telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the trust on some occasions, although Alf would observe that most politiciains (and maybe all) are apt to tell fibs now and again, with the obvious exception of the Member for Eketahuna North.
Trouble is, this Garrett bugger’s fibs have been of the sort that can land a bloke in big trouble politically when the nature of them is flushed into the open, especially when they have camouflaged a bit of hanky-panky that resulted in court charges, and even more especially when the MP in question has won himself a reputation for being strong on law and order, intolerant of namby pamby judges and things like name suppression, and what have you.
The Stuff site today has been bold enough to use the word “lied” in relation to Garrett’s brushes with the law, although Alf would be reluctant to use that word, because it is very unparliamentary to accuse fellow MPs of lying, even though it is hard to be a successful politician without telling a lie now and again.
Alf is similalry disinclined to use the word hypocrite, even though Garrett has had his name suppressed in a court case, but rails against the judges when any other bad bugger is granted name suppression.
Garrett’s talent for masquerading – which is the point of this post – becomes appaent when one reads the aforementioned Stuff report to find out a bit more about the lies mentioned in the headline and about the nature of whatever fraud seems to have been involved. .
At his own request, Mr Garrett had his name suppression lifted yesterday over the fraud case.
In June 2005, he admitted to Judge Keith de Ridder in North Shore District Court that in 1984 he had stolen the identity of a dead two-year-old boy.
He had gone to a cemetery to find the boy’s name on a headstone and provided a false address of 22 Wildberry St, Christchurch.
Approached by police in 2005 about the fraud, Mr Garrett initially denied it, then admitted it.
He told police he obtained the passport with “delusions of grandeur” and had read The Day of the Jackal, in which the central character obtained a false passport in the same way.
He asked the court for name suppression because he said he would suffer far more than professional and personal embarrassment as a result of a conviction.
At sentencing, Judge de Ridder described Mr Garrett’s actions as “a foolish prank”.
Mr Garrett had been “a roughneck” at the time but he was “obviously a million miles from that position now” and a conviction would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence.
“You have otherwise led a blameless life,” Judge de Ridder said.
But earlier this week Garrett admitted he had been convicted of assault in 2002 over an altercation in Tonga, although – like many of the criminals he demands be locked away – he claims he is innocent of any crime and is appealing against the conviction, which had been founded on “perjured evidence”.
It is understood that the 2005 court was not told of Mr Garrett’s 2002 conviction. It is also understood that the lawyers involved in the case did not know about it either.
TVNZ reported last night that it had seen a document in which Mr Garrett told the court he had committed no offences since becoming a lawyer in 1992.
“The worst I could be accused of is incurring some parking and speeding fines,” Mr Garrett was reported as saying.
The document was not among those released by the courts yesterday and Mr Garrett refused to comment. A spokeswoman said he could not remember the document and it was a long time ago.
ACT leader Rodney Hide and Garrett are expected to speak to the media this afternoon.
Alf would not be surprised if Garrett throws it in as a member of the ACT Party. He might hang on as an independent MP, but he might also head back to Britain to resume his role as Inspector Frost.
This would enable him to do the thing he most enjoys, which is getting bad buggers banged up in jail, although when the British authorities act on Alf’s information he may be frustrated in that ambition, at least insofar as he no longer can pass himself off as Inspector Frost.