Women complained against former Kāpiti councillor David Scott for years, documents reveal

David Scott. - Photo: RNZ/Richard Tindiller

Former Kāpiti Coast district councillor David Scott convicted of indecent assault has been the subject of complaints from women for years, documents reveal.

Documents released to RNZ under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) show the council had been getting complaints from women about Scott's behaviour since 2015.

In June 2018, he was convicted of indecent assault, fined $1500 and issued a first warning under the three-strikes law.

A year later, the Court of Appeal dismissed Scott's appeal against his conviction and sentence for the assault in April 2017.

Despite the conviction, he is standing for a seat on the Kāpiti Coast council in October's local body elections.

The complaints are detailed in a Code of Conduct Complaint written by chief executive Pat Dougherty to Mayor K Gurunathan in August 2017.

In it, Mr Dougherty said female staffers had been reporting inappropriate behaviour from Scott since 2015. While staff members were prepared to report the incidents, no one was prepared to put their names to a formal complaint.

"The complaints made are that Councillor David Scott's behaviour is putting staff at risk and this must stop," the complaint said.

The document outlines six complainants and 10 statements given to the council - two of the statements were made by past elected members and related to an incident involving a member of the public, not a staff member.

The women complained about Scott asking inappropriate questions, commenting on physical characteristics, standing too close and invading personal space, and physical contact such as pressing bodies.

One of the complainants was the woman Scott was convicted of indecently assaulting.

The Code of Conduct also details how in 2016 then-Mayor Ross Church wrote to Scott telling him not to engage in social conversation with staff.

Former Kapiti mayor Ross Church's letter to David Scott in May 2016

Photo: Supplied to RNZ under Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act

"A polite greeting is acceptable (eg good morning, hello etc) but the conversation should not go beyond that point," the letter said.

The complaint was put on hold pending the outcome of the trial and subsequent appeal but it was dropped when Scott was removed from office after his appeal failed.

While the conviction was enough to unseat him there's nothing to stop Scott from standing again.

That's because the Local Government and Local Electoral Act doesn't prevent anyone who has previously been disqualified from office or convicted of a crime from standing for office.

Minister for Local Government Nanaia Mahuta said it appeared there was a loophole in the legislation.

She's seeking advice from the Department of Internal Affairs.

Scott said he was only made aware of one other complaint while at the council.

The Kāpiti Coast District Council declined to comment.

Background

In June 2018 last year, Scott was convicted after a jury found he had rubbed his genitalia against a female council staff member during a council morning tea.

During the four-day trial Scott's penis was measured. The measurements are permanently suppressed.

Scott was fined $1500 and issued with a first warning under the three-strikes law.

In June this year, the Court of Appeal threw out Scott's appeal against his conviction and sentence.

It also found the measuring was a legitimate trial strategy and the trial judge was right to refuse Scott a discharge without conviction.

Scott, who had been stood down on full pay while the matter was before the courts, was immediately removed from office and lost his $35,342 annual salary.

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