Friday, May 13, 2005

Doing a Winston II

Hide and Collins are very definitely doing a Winston with their allegations about David Benson-Pope. Neither is willing to repeat them outside Parliament (despite truth being an absolute defence in a defamation suit), and Hide is now making mealy-mouthed excuses along the lines of being required by Parliament to accept Benson-Pope's word (only within the chamber, and only if you don't have evidence to the contrary that could support a claim of breach of privilege), and "I didn't put these as allegations I put these as question[s]".

Like the beer ad, says, "yeah, right".

What Hide seems to be missing is that two can play at this game. Anyone could stand up and ask him whether he (for example) has ever evaded taxes, vivisected cats, or sacrificed babies to Shub Niggurath. Not as allegations, you understand, but as questions. The fact that Hide would likely regard such "questions" as defamatory allegations in disguise shows that he is dealing in bad faith here.


Just to remind you, again, that another very recent example of the same thing was Mr. Mallard and his allegations about the Doones, allegations for which there has not been, to date, one shred of evidence to support. If you tsk tsk'ed about that, I didn't see it. wiremu1306

Posted by Anonymous : 5/13/2005 09:26:00 AM

The jury is out on this one We shouldnt rush to conclusions until we see hard evidence Assumptions have a habit of coming back and biting one of the bum

Posted by Anonymous : 5/13/2005 11:28:00 AM

There is quite a different between making an allegation against someone in parliament who can protect himself against those claims in parliament, and making a false allegation against someone outside parliament who cannot defend himself in parliament or in the courts.

Posted by Berend de Boer : 5/13/2005 12:10:00 PM

(I hate it when one can't change comments. Let me try again:)

There is quite a difference between making an allegation against someone in parliament who can defend himself against those claims in parliament, and making a false allegation against someone outside parliament who cannot defend himself in parliament nor in the courts.

Posted by Berend de Boer : 5/13/2005 12:16:00 PM


I don't see the why this difference matters. The true stage where this occurs is not the house, but the news media. Benson-Pope, you and I are all able to issue a press release. Or do you think that being in parliament provides some magical protection against people who defame you?

The important feature is not where the target of the comment sits about but where the comment is made. If the comment is made only in parliament then it is immune to defamation proceedings.

Also Hide's "It was only a question" defence is NOT considered a valid defence in defamation proceedings. Nor should it be: if the Herald had a banner headline "Is Rodney Hide a Child Abuser?" he'd be entitled to sue their arse off because they would be acting in bad faith to give a false and defamatory impression.

As for "the jury is still out" - no, it's not. There's no jury, because Hide's avoiding there being one.

He's refusing to give evidence to back up his claims, or to step outside parliament where evidence would be required. Also Hide's accusations, if true, would consitute criminal action by Benson-Pope. But he's not calling on the police to do anything.

[oh, but I'll back up the earlier poster's point about Mallard. Tsk, tsk, mr Mallard, tsk, tsk.].

Posted by Icehawk : 5/13/2005 12:33:00 PM

You're stretching things icehawk. An MP is not a newspaper. When several constituents are asking the same questions, when the story seems to have been widespread, even in Labour circles, when you have a minister that is leading an anti-bullying campaign, the questions are timely and relevant.

And the jury isn't out? Have you heard the interview with Linda Clark? That's number one.

So far it looks like a case.

Posted by Berend de Boer : 5/13/2005 02:10:00 PM

I heard the interview and my impression was not to trust the interviewee's interpretation of events.

And in the end if all this comes down to is a rather over-zealouse canning or two and a few unkind words then the guy should be thankful he didn't go to somewhere where treachers really did dish it out like Auckland Grammer.

As for Hide I had really nothing against him but after this I think he's a complete low life.

Posted by Sock Thief : 5/13/2005 03:36:00 PM

Sock Thief -

I'll repeat the comment I made over on Just Left. What you do or don't believe is your own affair, but please leave the psych assessments to people who are qualified - and have the opportunity to make them.

I can't believe I'm disclosing this here, but making comments like "he sounded a bit mad" reminds me what I didn't report the chap who raped me nearly twenty years ago. Anyone who make allegations like that has to be nuts or a liar, right?

Benson Pope is entitled to a fair go, but it would be nice if some of his defenders maintained a closer connection between brain and mouth.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/13/2005 09:26:00 PM