A very odd opinion piece from Audrey Young

In the NZ Herald this morning, political editor Audrey Young had an opinion piece entitled “Conviction delay blindsided Act MP“. She notes that John Banks had a plan prepared if and when he was committed to trial, the plan being to step down as ACT leader and announce his retirement come the next election. She then writes:

He was committed for trial and he duly resigned. It was well thought through and executed.

Not so for the verdict.

The fact that he did not have a plan ready last Thursday suggests he quite reasonably had prepared for only two possibilities: acquittal, or being forced out of his seat that day with a conviction.

The decision by the judge to delay a ruling on any conviction until sentencing on August 1 took everybody by surprise and complicated Banks’ options.

Except that the Judge didn’t simply make a surprise decision to delay entering a conviction until sentencing on 1 August. Mr Banks’ lawyer specifically asked for that to happen, so that an application for a discharge without conviction could be made, based on Mr Banks’ instructions to his lawyer. I find it difficult to believe that a QC would have failed to advise Mr Banks that a discharge without conviction application almost always requires affidavit evidence regarding the consequences of a conviction and written legal submissions regarding the gravity of the offending.

And leading up to the delivery of Justice Wylie’s judgment, it’s not as if there wasn’t discussion on the interweb about whether Mr Banks would apply for a discharge without conviction if found guilty. Obviously though, such discussion completely bypassed the NZ Herald.



  1. Yeah, most members of the news media never did much law or much else. Some of the older ones also seldom deign to read the blogs so they never get the benefit of all of that free advice that floats around.

    1. It may be naive of me, but I just can’t shake this belief that a senior journalist (political or otherwise) would do at least a modicum of research into the topic they’re intending to write about. How hard would it have been for Ms Young to have called a lawyer and asked, “So, if Banks is found guilty, what’s likely to happen?”
      But as I say, that may be naive of me…

      1. I do more a lot research than many reporters. That is because I don’t have a newspaper or timeslots to fill. The whole industry has been scaled back so far over the last decade as they lost their classified advertising to the likes of trademe, that there is no time or backing support for research.

        Many of them current rely on press releases and the research of PR firms and the 9th floor..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s