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Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 06:30 am
It’s a Jayson Blair moment for the New Zealand Herald:
Last week, the Herald on Sunday published two news reports based on a purported interview with former South Auckland police officer Anthony Solomona. Mr Solomona’s legal representative, John Haigh QC, wrote to this newspaper on October 17, saying Mr Solomona had not met anyone from the Herald on Sunday and that the statement that the interview had occurred was false.
The Herald on Sunday initiated an immediate investigation into the complaint. We regret to advise that Mr Haigh’s advice is correct.
The reporter who wrote the articles, John Manukia, has confirmed that the interview did not take place. He neither met, nor spoke to, Mr Solomona. The quotes as attributed to Mr Solomona were fabricated as was the reported content of the purported interview.
Mr Manukia is no longer with the Herald. More from editor Shayne Currie:
Inevitably there will be questions over the checks and balances around news stories and these are under review. However, I do believe they are robust – they are virtually the same as any other newsroom in the country – and it’s difficult to see how Manukia’s deceit could have been picked up before publication.
It was elaborate to the point where senior editors were provided times and locations of the so-called meetings with Mr Solomona – and the news editor was provided a full transcript of written quotes.
Astoundingly, they had all been made up. Manukia neither met nor spoke to Mr Solomona, and was at a loss to explain how he thought he might get away with it.
The invented reports have been swept from the Herald’s site, but live on in Google cache. Manukia’s bogus quotes, attributed to Anthony Solomona, are interesting in light of his present circumstances:
“Status is very important among Polynesians. We work hard to get status just like I worked hard to get mine. But all that is gone now.
“I will never get it back.”