Human Rights Tribunal diss and dismiss McCready’s ponytail case

The Human Rights Tribunal have given Graham McCready a bollocking and dismissed his case against John Key over ponytail pulling.

[1] These proceedings filed on 14 May 2015 arise out of events which occurred at a cafe in Parnell, Auckland involving the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Rt Hon John Key (Mr Key) and a waitress, Ms Amanda Bailey then employed at the cafe. The allegation is that while at the cafe as a customer, Mr Key on several different occasions pulled Ms Bailey’s hair which was tied in a ponytail.

[2] The Chief District Court Judge on 13 May 2015 rejected papers filed by New Zealand Private Prosecution Service Limited (NZPPSL) in support of an intended private prosecution against Mr Key alleging male assaults female. The rejection of the charging document was based on a failure by NZPPSL to comply with an earlier direction given on 1 May 2015 that it file formal statements in support of the allegations.

[3] These present proceedings before the Human Rights Review Tribunal followed. It is alleged Mr Key breached s 62(2) of the Human Rights Act 1993. The statement of claim describes the plaintiff as the New Zealand Private Prosecution Service Limited but the document is signed by Mr McCready who has at all times been the spokesperson for NZPPSL. Neither Mr McCready nor NZPPSL claims to be the victim of the alleged sexual harassment nor do they claim to have brought the proceedings with the knowledge and consent of Ms Bailey. Indeed the statement of claim specifically acknowledges Ms Bailey has refused to cooperate in the bringing of the claim. The allegations in the statement of claim appear to have been gleaned from media reports.

[59] NZPPSL does not have the stature or credibility of an IDEA Services or of a CPAG. As with the attempted criminal prosecution, it has brought the proceedings for its own purposes, not to vindicate the rights of an otherwise voiceless or disempowered individual or group of individuals. Ms Bailey has given neither her consent nor her cooperation.

[62] The Tribunal’s processes cannot be allowed to be brought into disrepute. In the present case there is, for the reasons given, a distinct element of impropriety, sufficient for the proceedings to be stigmatised as vexatious, not brought in good faith and an abuse of process.

[63] In the result, quite apart from the fact there is no arguable case, these proceedings must be dismissed on the grounds they are vexatious, not brought in good faith and are an abuse of process.

CONCLUSION

[104] NZPPSL, assisted by Mr McCready as its representative, has brought proceedings before the Tribunal which are entirely misconceived and have no prospect of success. While asserting altruistic motives, they have filed these proceedings without the knowledge, consent or cooperation of the alleged victim. Given the publicity they have assiduously sought at every stage they have undoubtedly added to the hurt and embarrassment she has already suffered. Their apparent indifference to the risk of her being re-victimised by their actions cannot be lightly put to one side.

[105] Having regard to the documents filed by NZPPSL we have little doubt these proceedings, ostensibly wrapped in the language of human rights, have in truth been brought to embarrass the Prime Minister and to promote the interests of NZPPSL and Mr McCready. Along the way they have made baseless allegations against both the Chairperson and the lawyer representing the Prime Minister.

[106] It should therefore come as no surprise the proceedings must be struck out not only because no arguable case under the Human Rights Act can be established, but also because the proceedings are vexatious, not brought in good faith and are an abuse of process.

So that’s another major failure by McCready in trying to deal to Key, with Bailey not wanting anything to do with it. She has already made settlement with her employer.

The Tribunal Headnote: New Zealand Private Prosecution Service Ltd v Key [2015] NZHRRT 48

Download PDF document icon[2015] NZHRRT 48 – NZ Private Prosecution Service Ltd v Key.pdf — PDF document, 157 kB

Amanda Bailey not taking legal action against Key

Amanda Bailey, the target of John Key’s bizarre pony tail pulling, has apparently settled confidentially with her cafe employer and does not intend taking legal action against Key.

I’m sure I saw somewhere recently that Bailey had settled and was leaving it at that, (if I find it I’ll post a link) and it was discussed in Monday’s media conference with Key:

Key said he would not comment on Amanda Bailey’s decision to drop legal action against him regarding “the ponytail incident.”

Graham McCready’s private prosecution is however still proceeding.

Scoop

McCready’s attempt to have Key prosecuted failed: Court rejects ponytail case

Mr McCready had sought permission to prosecute John Key over his conduct in repeatedly pulling the ponytail of Auckland waitress Amanda Bailey.

But Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue has ruled there is not enough evidence to justify a trial.

Mr McCready said he would take legal advice and decide whether to review or appeal against the judgment.

He said if Ms Bailey were prepared to make a formal statement, then the charging document could be refiled.

But Bailey has refused to cooperate with McCready.

However McCready is still pursuing his crusade through the Human Rights Tribunal: Key wants ponytail-pulling complaint dismissed

Prime Minister John Key’s lawyer has filed for the dismissal of a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal over the ponytail-pulling incident.

Serial private litigant Graham McCready laid the complaint, asserting Mr Key had breached the Human Rights Act.

“Mr Key’s lawyer filed a statement that Mr McCready didn’t have a standing to take this case because he is not an affected party,” a spokesman for the prime minister told NZ Newswire

So the issue is over for Bailey, at least as far as legal action is concerned, but McCready persists.

McCready told not to “bother, vex or harass”

The latest Graeme McCready farce seems to have ended in court (yesterday) with McCready told not “bother, vex or harass” Amanda Bailey.

Ponytail pulling case ends in confusion

An attempt to get John Key under oath and talking about ponytail-pulling has failed with the private prosecutor being told to stop being a nuisance.

A new ruling today has seen Graham McCready’s application to the Human Rights Tribunal end in bumbling confusion with the litigator told not “bother, vex or harass” victim Amanda Bailey.

A finding from Tribunal chairman Rodger Haines QC today sharply told Mr McCready to leave Ms Bailey alone.

The ruling showed Mr McCready had no way of serving Ms Bailey with a summons and said it was because he was “not entitled to the information sought”.

“It is to be remembered Ms Bailey is not a party to these proceedings and that these proceedings have been brought without her knowledge or consent”.

McCready tried to make it all about him and force Bailey to play along.

Mr Haines said Mr McCready had not read with care previous rulings from the Tribunal related to the case he was trying to bring and it showed he was “wasting the Tribunal’s time with applications of no merit”.

He said the repeated applications to the Tribunal to get “information they are not entitled to” could strengthen any application by Ms Bailey or Mr Key to have the whole case dismissed.

Mr McCready said the tribunal had misunderstood confusion over the process and determined his actions were “frivolous and intended to harass the victim Amanda Bailey”.

He said he had no way to serve a summons on Ms Bailey to get her evidence into court.

“The Pony Tail Gate case is therefore at an end,” he said.

Good. It should never have started.

Any action if any should be entirely up to Bailey.

McCready loses one case, starts another, promises a third

Graeme McCready’s criminal prosecution against John has been rejected by the District Court. He complained about the bar being set to high but he had no evidence. If the police pressed charges with no evidence it would be absurd, and so is McCready’s action.

The Herald reports:

The case against Mr Key got tossed out after the judge criticised the lack of written statements.

The judge had also rejected an application for an oral evidence order, which Mr McCready could then have used to summons Ms Bailey, Mr Key and any witnesses and compel testimony under oath.

Amanda Bailey has refused to have anything to do with his legal action. AN no other alleged witnesses have helped him either.

But he’s continuing his political crusade.

The Hamilton-based litigant filed a case with the Human Rights Tribunal this afternoon seeking $30,000 punitive damages from the John Key over the infamous ponytail-pulling incidents.

He filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Mr Key just hours after a District Court judge tossed out an attempted criminal prosecution over pulling the hair of Parnell waitress Amanda Bailey.

Instead of pursuing the matter through criminal courts, Mr McCready said he had switched to a civil jurisdiction which would be more straight-froward.

“In the Human Rights Tribunal I can directly summons these people,” he said.

So still no evidence, so he seems to want the Tribunal to effectuate his investigation. Ludicrous.

Mr McCready said he could have pursued the case at the same time as the criminal complaint but did not want it to appear as if he was assaulting the case on all fronts.

“I could have but then I would look like a vexatious masked crusader, which I’m not of course. I would look like a serial litigant. I only do one of these a year.”

But he does appear to be assaulting the case on as many fronts as possible.

He said he also intended complaining again to the Independent Police Conduct Authority about Mr Key’s police bodyguards, to whom Ms Bailey complained about the hair-pulling.

He said the officers should have taken action – and that they would have done were he in the cafe pulling someone’s hair.

And if he fails with these next two actions then what? What a year so he doesn’t look like a serial litigant?

Shanna Reeder: Key is a sexual harasser who “should resign immediately”

Shanna Reeder, a Hotel organiser from the Unite Union, has implied that John Key could be a serial sexual harasser and has said “in my view this behaviour is abhorrent and he should resign immediately”.

Five days later it was announced that Reeder would advise and represent Amanda Bailey, the ponytail waitress.

As posted earlier today here is Reeder in a Radio New Zedaland interview:

The Unite Union has announced it will represent Amanda Bailey and support whatever action she decides to take. Union organiser Shanna Reeder is with us.

What does Amanda Bailey want to do?

Reeder : Ah well that’s a really good question. Um everybody’s been asking that question today. Um unfortunately we’re unable to give you a clear answer on that because we haven’t decided at this stage.

You haven’t decided or she hasn’t?

Reeder : Um well obviously we’re advising Amanda on what the best course of action will be, and Amanda hasn’t decided at this stage.

What are you advising her to do?

Reeder : Um well there’s actually I means there’s there’s a whole bunch of different um options that she could take. A lot of experts have been out in the media um recommending you know what she could do at this point, um so basically we’re just trying to help her through all of those options, um and help her find…

As it turns out Reeder was one of those ‘experts’ out in the media making recommendations.

Are you pushing for a particular result yourself here?

Reeder : No no it’s completely up to Amanda.

That was Wednesday 29 April. She sounds a bit like a neutral spokesperson and an unbiased adviser.

But before she took up this role she posted about the Bailey/John Key issue at The Daily Blog (April 24). This doesn’t sound much like an employment/union organiser point of view.

GUEST BLOG: Shanna Reeder – The repercussions of having a PM who is a sexual harasser

Today our Prime Minister John Key admitted to repeatedly sexually harassing a waitress in a cafe he frequents.

She told her story anonymously via The Daily Blog

Clearly this presents many questions which may or may not be answered in the coming days. In my view this behaviour is abhorrent and he should resign immediately.

We also know that men with wealth and power usually consider themselves teflon-coated and he will probably spend the next two weeks taking the advice of those who were in charge of Roger Sutton’s damage control.

That’s a bit ironic when she is now giving advice to Bailey.

Although Key has admitted his behaviour, he is now trying to minimise, minimise, minimise his conduct just as all abusers do. It was just a harmless bit of fun he will say. He’ll add that he didn’t realise she didn’t like it but he is very sorry.

However he did know his behaviour offended her because she made that clear to him in a number of different ways. As she wrote: “I posted on the National Party and the John Key Facebook pages a message along the lines of “Stop pulling my hair – I don’t like it!” “I told his security that I was sick of having my hair pulled and one day I’ll snap and I’ll punch him in the face.”

When he continued his behaviour he simply followed the pattern of all abusive bullies in ignoring the protests, continuing the behaviour and pretending it was OK. Disturbingly he even tried to bring his wife into his “game”.

It is my hope the people of New Zealand will not stand for this. But I also know that Rape Culture and misogyny is denied and protected in our society from the average kiwi, all the way to the top. If only there was no name suppression.

That’s laying it on the thicker end of the scale of severity.

What no one has realised or commented on yet is that this young lady was an employee, being harassed at work. She had a right to be safe at work. Her employer had a responsibility to protect her.

They failed in that responsibility. “I exclaimed “Really?!!” to my manager beside me, and shot him a look of utter disbelief and frustration.”

This young lady could quite rightly take a case against her employer now and potentially win thousands of dollars.

She has already made this judgement. It would be interesting to know when she first started advising Bailey.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace happens daily in this country. Employers ignore it; they brush it off as a bit of fun, a misunderstanding. Only in very rare cases, usually involving a lawyer or union advocate are they complained about, followed up on, and resolved.

Who would come forward to offer help on that?

Unfortunately resolution usually involved a confidential settlement which cannot be talked about so these harassers stay on in the workplace, or go elsewhere and are free to repeat their behaviour to un-suspecting new colleagues, extended family, or even the waitress at the local cafe.

She’s implied that Key could be a serial sexual harasser.

Everyday our union works tirelessly to battle against bad employers who break the law, abuse, exploit and harass our workers, yet John Key and his National Government go out of their way to make it easier for employers to behave badly and harder for us to protect their workers.

So it’s political.

I have hope that we can beat rape culture; I have hope that sexual harassment and assault will no longer be a common experience for workers.

But it’s not going to happen whilst the New Zealand public allow a known sexual harasser to continue as our Prime Minister.

It’s clear what outcome she wanted before it was announced she would advise and represent Bailey.

Bailey will probably have read Reeder’s post at The Daily Blog. It was the day after the second of her posts. Four days later Unite Union put out this press release:

Unite to represent Amanda Bailey

Unite Union has agreed to represent Amanda Bailey, the waitress at the centre of the repeated harassment involving the Prime Minister.

Amanda Bailey has sought support from Unite after being named as the author of an anonymous story for the Daily Blog last week describing how the Prime Minister had repeatedly pulled her ponytail over a period of months.

Unite will be advising Amanda on employment issues and assisting to resolve concerns about how her identity was revealed by the New Zealand Herald.

And when interviewed later that day:

Are you pushing for a particular result yourself here?

Reeder : No no it’s completely up to Amanda.

Perhaps it is completely up to Bailey, but if she decides to take any employment or legal action it sounds like she will have an adviser and representative who had already made up her mind what should happen and what the outcome should be.

Note that the Unite Union is a sponsor of The Daily Blog:

PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY:

Unite_logo_Gold_on_red-cdn

In the public interest I think it’s worth knowing when Bailey and Reeder first discussed this issue.

Before Reeder’s post? Before Bailey’s first post?

Bailey, Unite and Labour

I don’t have a problem with the ponytail waitress Amanda Bailey telling her story. John Key had acted poorly over a period of time, and Bailey’s annoyance and frustration seems to have been ignored. Normally a waitress in this situation would have few options for redress, but Key put himself in a vulnerable position and Bailey used that to make a valid point.

So I think it’s fine for her to have spoken up.

But the way the story has been played out raises some questions.

Bailey chose to put her story out via Martyn Bradbury and The Daily Blog. That guaranteed that her story would be seen by some as political and highly partisan. A more neutral medium would have avoided much of the political accusations, but Bailey went hard left.

Now Bailey is working through her options with the Unite Union. Was she a member of Unite? Or have the decided to represent her as a non-member?

Radio New Zealand interviewed the Unite Union organiser who is representing Bailey:

The Unite Union has announced it will represent Amanda Bailey and support whatever action she decides to take. Union organiser Shanna Reeder is with us.

What does Amanda Bailey want to do?

Reeder : Ah well that’s a really good question. Um everybody’s been asking that question today. Um unfortunately we’re unable to give you a clear answer on that because we haven’t decided at this stage.

You haven’t decided or she hasn’t?

Reeder : Um well obviously we’re advising Amanda on what the best course of action will be, and Amanda hasn’t decided at this stage.

What are you advising her to do?

Reeder : Um well there’s actually I means there’s there’s a whole bunch of different um options that she could take. A lot of experts have been out in the media um recommending you know what she could do at this point, um so basically we’re just trying to help her through all of those options, um and help her find…

Are you pushing for a particular result yourself here?

Reeder : No no it’s completely up to Amanda.

What has she told you about ah issues we’ve just heard about what Graeme McCready just said about her feeling humiliated, ah being um comments being made to her by other customers, what’s she talking about the reaction she’s received from the public here?

Reeder : Ah she hasn’t commented on that to me so I’m unable to comment on that to you.

And you are not saying, are you saying to her she should support for example the action taken by Graeme McCready?

Reeder : That’s not something that we have discussed, I’m just unable to comment on it I’m sorry.

When do you think she’ll know what her course of action should be?

Reeder : Um I think she’s getting there, I think probably by the end of the week she’ll have a bit of an outline of what she wants to do.

Shanna Olsen-Reeder is listed as Unite’s ‘Hotels and Call Centres’ organiser in Auckland. While they have several fast food restaurant’ organisers they don’t have any designated as cafe or general restaurant organisers.

NZ Herald reported on progress on Saturday:

On Wednesday Mr McCready filed paperwork at the Auckland District Court on a proposed assault charge against Mr Key.

Mr McCready alleges a Crimes Act charge of male assaults female, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

To reach a trial Mr McCready would have to present sufficient evidence of the proposed charge and has asked for an oral evidence hearing with 11 witnesses, including Bronagh Key, to do so.

Bailey has wisely chosen to avoid dealing with McCready.

Today, he said Ms Bailey, through the Unite Union, had refused to speak with him and did not want anything to do with his private prosecution.

However, Ms Bailey was considering her own legal action and would be represented by the Unite Union if she choose to proceed.

The union did not say who any complaint or legal action would target.

Being a union I would presume Unite would be looking at employment matters with Bailey. But maybe not. This comment at The Standard describes Unite as political activists, not just worker representatives.

Unite union has been well represented at virtually every protest from TPPA, selling State assets, Oil drilling protests, opposing charter schools, defending Glen Innes State housing, etc., supporting Gaza/Palestine. In fact Unite’s Joe Carolan often speaks to the crowd at these protest rallies and is commonly on a megaphone during the marches. The Unite people have been very visible on social justice issues on all issues of social justice.

Carolan and Mike Treen (Unite’s National Director Day to Day Operations) are well known socialist activists.

Does “all issues of social justice” mean they could get involved in legal matters outside the employment arena that could potentially take down the current Government?

If they do this would ensure it remains a highly charged political issue. The Unite Union have had close links with the MANA Party/Movement.

And also with Andrew Little and the Labour Party. Matt McCarten has been heavily involved with Unite, leading the union from 2005 to 2014, and since then he has been and still is heavily involved with Labour as Little’s chief of staff.

Little and Labour have wisely kept a distance from the Bailey versus Key issue. But if Unite help Bailey take legal action outside of employment matters then dots will no doubt be connected.

Bailey will no doubt think through her options carefully. She justifiably felt aggrieved by Key’s behaviour. She will have seen the political reaction after publicising her grievance through a left wing political activist. She has been burned by some  apparently appalling behaviour by Rachel Glucina and NZ Herald.

If Unite are advising her well they will have pointed out not just what courses of action that are open to her but also the potential political implications of any action. Unite have a reputation of not just being a union representing workers on employment matters.

Unite may be able to keep Bailey’s issues separate from partisan politics, but that won’t be easy given how it has already been discussed in social media.