Threats of private prosecution

Politicians and journalists are demanding the police prosecute Todd Barclay, but if that doesn’t happen Graham McCready is threatening to get involved – and he says he could  include Bill English in a prosecution.

Stuff:  Private prosecution of Todd Barclay and Bill English suggested

Serial litigant Graham McCready says he will take Todd Barclay and Bill English to court over the taping scandal if the police don’t.

The prosecution would focus on Barclay’s accused illegal reporting and English as an “accessory after the fact”.

McCready’s New Zealand Private Prosecution Service wrote to Invercargill Police on Monday morning advising them that if they didn’t prosecute Barclay and English they would seek to – providing that the complainant Glenys Dickson and other witnesses wished to.

That is almost a threat to the police, and is at least trying to pressure them into taking a particular action.

Will Glenys Dickson and other witnesses (are there any witnesses at all to a recording?) be willing to get dragged in by McCready?

McCready said he would prefer the police led the prosecution, but doubted they would.

“It’s the same all the other high profile cases – painter-gate, ponytail-gate, the punch-up in Parliament. The police just run away,” he said.

Maybe the Police have different considerations, priorities and motives to litigant grand standers.

But some people and the media seem intent on driving this as much as they can.

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 meddling

‘Serial litigant’ Graham McCready is again trying to meddle in things that really aren’t his business. When I heard Martyn Bradbury was involved in the hair pulling revelations I groaned. McCready jumping on the attention seeking bandwagon is uber-groan territory.

Newstalk ZB report:

Private prosecutor Graham McCready is now filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, and plans to take it to court, claiming it was sexual harassment.

“This incident is too important,” McCready said, “too much in the public interest for that not to happen.”

“It could distress her but we’ll deal with that as we go along.”

Too important for whom?

Too bad if it distresses ‘her’, this looks all about an opportunist attention seeker.

Taking it to the Human Rights Commission would be highly ironic considering how McCready seems to be ignoring the victim’s rights and is promoting his own interests.

Claiming it was sexual harassment seems out of order to me. The incidents happened in a very public place, with his wife present. I don’t see any sexual connotations.

McCready’s meddling is likely to do far more harm than good, especially to the victim of the hair pulling. It loks like selfish grandstanding and an attempt at a political hit job.

McCready is making a circus out of something that has already blown up far more than is warranted.

Little to gloat about the Banks verdict

It’s a sad situation.  I think any very public political fall from grace is sad, regardless of the circumstances. The degree of scrutiny and level of criticism is always magnified.

It should be magnified to an extent for our elected representatives but I find the degree of scorn, criticism and gloating is a poor reflection on human behaviour. I find the glee with which many people like to stick the boot in is distasteful.

The cheering in some political circles is predictable, that’s what some want, to destroy the careers of opponents. They see this as a major victory. I think the whole circus is a defeat for decent democracy.

Graham McCready, the person responsible for the prosecution, was “ecstatic” over the verdict. He sung a smug song outside the court. That made it look like it was far more vindictive than noble of him in his pursuit of Banks.

I think Banks deserves some criticism and I have no reason to doubt the judge’s decision. I don’t know if it was a sound decision in a legal sense but there has to be a fairly high chance Banks was aware of the donations. It seems he sought donations from Dotcom and then turned a blind eye to the paperwork.

How many politicians have done this? A number of systems of separation have been used to keep an appearance of distance between politicians and the money they need to campaign with.

It’s really a difficult balance to achieve, especially for sole politicians who don’t have party organisations to do the fundraising for them. Even then I expect that rich donors will often like to speak to the person at the top, to get some sort of high level association in return for their generosity.

But it looks like Banks was not careful enough. And he got caught out, first by a political opposition who wanted a Government scalp at any cost, and then be a tenacious individual with questionable motives, especially when you see his reaction to success.

McCready looked like he was gleefully dancing on Banks’ political grave.

Surprisingly Banks himself looked more dignified than despondent after the verdict. He has looked like he has struggled early in this debacle but seemed to be well prepared for yesterday’s outcome.

Banks has been caught out and found guilty for sloppiness prior to returning as an MP and in action of little consequence, he had already lost the mayoralty contest when he fudged his electoral return.

Is Banks the only politician who has fiddled his paperwork on donations? His opponent Len Brown seems to have been smarter in the way he has disguised his donations. David Cunliffe was embarrassed by the use of a trust to officially separate himself from his donors. John Key is often involved in party fundraising events but claims to have nothing to do with the money handling.

Politicians and parties need money to survive and succeed.

Banks got caught out but the system didn’t make it easy for him, or the other politicians who secretly seek funds.

Banks didn’t help his case by the way he dealt with it when the political blowtorch was applied. When opponents sense a misstep or a weakness they dig deeper and try to hit harder with the shit shovel. This time they scored a victim.

It’s an ignominious end to another phase in the political careers of Banks. It will be awkward for John Key and National for the next two or three months.

It also taints the ACT Party even though they had nothing to do with the offence, Banks wasn’t even a party member at the time. But it has already forced ACT to re-invent itself and select a new Epsom candidate and also a new party leader.

It looks bad and is bad for Banks. Is it a fair and justified outcome? I don’t know. The ‘crime’ seems quite trivial and inconsequential to me, so the repercussions seem somewhat out of proportion.

This is politics, and it can be a vicious and uncompromising arena.

The parliamentary career of of Banks will fade away in some degree of disgrace mixed with misfortune in being the one who was found out and taken to task.

But this adds to the shoddy reputation of politicians. Although the offence had nothing to do with Parliament it has further dirtied the appearance of our top house of ill repute. And the blood isn’t just on Banks’ political floor, it’s on a number of hands and taints the whole house.

Banks. Key. Peters. Robertson. McCready.

All of them look worse for this exercise in political targeting and evasion.

Banks is ultimately responsible, but he is not the only one to have been hurt by this.

A decent democracy dashed and trashed. Again.

Sword hovering over Cunliffe

No doubt encouraged by his success at taking John Banks to task for an electoral misdemeanour Graham McCready confirms his intent to look left as well – Serial litigant takes aim at Cunliffe

Serial litigant Graham McCready has put Labour leader David Cunliffe on notice: if the police don’t prosecute him for breaking electoral rules, then he will.

McCready said Cunliffe could expect court action within six months.

A tweet quickly removed may seem trivial but Cunliffe should have known better. And the potential potential penalty is greater than for Banks.

@GraemeEdgeler

The maximum fine John Banks potentially faces is $10,000. The maximum fine David Cunliffe potentially faces is $20,000.

This raises questions about how our democracy can be so influenced by one person initiating private prosecutions.

In the meantime, (camp Cunliffe) Zetetic  at The Standard…

A knighthood I would back

I don’t support knighthoods. I especially don’t support knighthoods being handed out to people who have just done their jobs at the end of their careers. You know, the gongs for ministers and CEOs. But if you are going to have honours, they should go to ordinary people who have truly gone above and beyond and acted where others failed. Arise, Sir Graham McCready.

…may have spoken a bit soon, he mustn’t have seen McCready’s sword now aimed at Cunliffe: