Kate, James Hooke and their debating teammate and friend Ian Wilkins in 1988

A close friend of Kate, the woman who accused Christian Porter of rape, has spoken publicly for the first time, saying he has information about Kate’s allegation he would like to share with an independent inquiry into Porter’s suitability to hold the role of attorney-general.

James Hooke first met Kate months after the alleged incident in mid-1988 at national debating competitions. The pair were romantically involved about a year later and remained friends throughout Kate’ life.

Hooke also met Porter several times across the 1990s. Kate died by suicide last year after telling the NSW Police and friends about her allegations in 2019. The attorney-general has vehemently denied the allegations.

Crikey previously kept Hooke’s identity anonymous as per his request, but after being named in The Australian and The Advertiser, Hooke decided to make a public statement.

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“I continue to be devastated by the untimely death of my very dear friend Kate, and I am enormously concerned for the privacy and dignity of Kate’s family. I am also concerned for the well-being of Christian Porter. I have known all of them for approximately 30 years. We all find ourselves at a very upsetting time,” he said in a statement sent to Crikey.

“Mine is just one set of recollections, and I am aware of the fallibility of human memory, however unintentional.

“That said, I have what I consider to be clear recollections of relevant discussions I had with Kate over the years from mid-1988 until her death. I also have what I consider to be clear recollections of relevant discussions I had with Christian Porter from April 1992 in Perth and through the mid-1990s.”

“The NSW Police have determined that a criminal prosecution is not possible in this case. I made myself known to the NSW Police after Kate’s death and I understand why they were unable to interview me.”

“In relation to any criminal prosecution, Christian Porter was manifestly and appropriately entitled to the presumption of innocence — it is essential to the rule of law.

“In relation to any investigation of the important non-criminal aspects of this matter, I support an inquiry, like either that conducted by three retired eminent judges after Justice Lionel Murphy was acquitted of charges or that conducted by Dr Vivienne Thom into allegations about Justice [Dyson] Heydon. I am willing to testify under oath at any appropriately convened inquiry.

“While I fully support the freedom of the press, I do not believe that the media is the optimal forum in which to investigate a situation of this sensitivity and significance.”

Hooke is the Macquarie Group’s senior managing director and has held other held senior executive positions with the bank.

Crikey has spoken to five friends who knew Kate as a teenager and throughout her life. All said they are dismayed at the government’s response — or lack of — to Kate’s allegations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been criticised for treating the rape allegations as a media and political issue. He still has not read Kate’s police statement or a letter sent to him by Kate’s friends detailing the allegation.

Porter is currently taking a period of mental health leave.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.

For anyone seeking help, Lifeline is on 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue is 1300 22 4636.