Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Come to think of it, if I felt better I would be out improvising. But let's pretend.
Anyway, I'll give you something to be going along with. We start with the presumption of innocence. We do this even if we're not a jury, because otherwise the moment someone was accused they would suddenly be found guilty.
Then you try your best - in a manner not unlike the scientific method - to disprove the case against the accused.
This has consequences for Africa.
The worst offence against process I've noticed was Rodney Hide. On the radio this morning he said that the evidence in the report was why Benson-Pope had been "convicted".
But many of the arguments over the questions of fact in the case that I've noticed have started - subtly or otherwise, knowingly or otherwise - from a presumtion of guilt or some other fallacy. In ways that I may mention in that 'well person' post we discussed earlier.
Not that people aren't allowed to say what they like. I couldn't even tell you if their conclusions are wrong. I just don't think it's especially fair.
Conversely, all of my arguments unimpeachable.
Anyway, since we're not talking about the disputed facts:
It looks like Benson-Pope is, as I proposed in June, being tried by the media. Unfortunate, considering that the media has neither the training, inclination or performance record for the job. And that he (or his staff) have just royally pissed the media off and added the spectre of breach of confidence and hamfisted attempts to decieve the New Zealand public to an issue that you would have thought wouldn't - for better or worse - have been so huge issue if it hadn't all been tied up with Parliamentary privilege.
Cullen's 'more-on-anger-than-in-sorrow' defence in Parliament last week probably wasn't that helpful either, though both sides have attempted to distort the meaning of prima facie, which is kind of amusing.
With what's in the police files, I'm inclinded to think, from a procedural point of view, he should go before the privileges committee. Will be disappointed in Wilson etc etc.
But I'm not very dogmatic on this, because the result would be a farce. A political committee is not the body to decide question of criminal guilt or innocence. Which is what they'd effectively be doing, if only for the public record.
Should he resign anyway? His credibility with the public has surely been gutted. Dover did time in the wilderness in the face of less evidence. But it would be sad if a minister of the crown had to resign in the face of what is still, technically, just an allegation.
I've been waiting for when all the evidence was out before blogging anything definitive but as far as I can see things have just gotten more uncertain.
But perhaps that's the paracetemol talking.
Bit off topic, but does anyone listen to that guy Hooten on Linda Clark? He the one that's "from the Right". He seems to think that people's political memory get reset every election cycle. It seems the foreshore legislation is all Labour's fault. Or the shabby way Te Wananga o Aotearoa was treated, just because it was a maori success story. And not, for instance, the way National was there demanding something more draconian in both cases.
Sneery man. Makes my fists itch just listening to his tone of voice. Bit like Tony Ryall, in that respect.
Also claimed Benson-Pope not being charged was political. I think thats ... not correct. But that kind of thing will only get worse when they don't charge Hodgson.