Graham McCready

Accidentally like a martyr

John Key has his share of supporters over his repeated pulling of a waitress’s hair – Mike Hosking (surprise!) and the Minister for Women, to name but two examples. As Louise Upston, the Minister for Women, stated:

“As the Prime Minister has said his actions were intended to be light-hearted. It was never his intention to make her feel uncomfortable. He said that in hindsight it wasn’t appropriate, and that is why he apologised.”

Well, to my mind it’s harassment, pure and simple, and an abuse of a position of power. And to those staunch defenders of the PM, who speak of light-hearted tomfoolery and the like, I refer them to the following TEDx talk by Laura Bates, founder of the EverydaySexismProject.

John Key’s behaviour crossed a line, and he deserved to be called out for it. After all, attitudes and behaviours don’t change unless we call people out for transgressions. And when the story first broke, I doubt there were many people who didn’t cringe to themselves and think, “That’s more than a little weird. And slightly creepy.”

However, once the disbelief and laughter dies down – and much laughter was certainly had at Key’s expense – there’s the question of over-reaction. If the response from Key’s enemies is seen as over-the-top, Key becomes the victim.

When serial litigant Graham McCready (which is precisely how he was described on 3News last night) pops his head up to file a complaint, John Key gains a little sympathy.

When Winston Peters starts asking why police haven’t already charged Key with assault, people think things might be going a little too far.

When Herald and Stuff comment threads start labelling the Prime Minister a sexual deviant, people begin to tune out.

Now I’m not trying to minimise John Key’s behaviour. As I’ve said, I consider it harassment and an abuse of power. He’s become a laughing stock, which may well prove his political undoing in time – the first big crack in the armour.

Most importantly, the issue of harassment and sexism is being openly discussed across the country. Key has got it in the neck from The National Council of Women and the Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue, both of whom have had well-worded, reasoned contributions to the discussion.

Nonetheless, when the commentary goes beyond the reasoned, martyrs can be accidentally created.

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McCready jumps the shark

When the Solicitor-General took over the prosecution of John Banks, Graham McCready – retired accountant, convicted blackmailer and tax fraud, and successful prosecutor of Trevor Mallard – received a boost in credibility. Vindication was his.

Evidently, he rather enjoyed the role of public watchdog (and presumably the attention that went with it), as, Don Quixote-like, he immediately set off on an ill-prepared campaign to take down Len Brown and his wife for corruption. That prosecution attempt crashed and burned at the first hurdle, but the recent guilty verdict against John Banks (and of course the renewed publicity for Mr McCready that followed) appears to renewed McCready’s thirst to remain in the limelight.

Now, he’s pursuing private prosecutions against John Key, Detective Inspector Mark Benefield and John Banks, for conspiring to defeat the course of justice by not prosecuting Mr Banks. Unfortunately, Mr McCready appears to have lost track of why Justice Wylie found Mr Banks guilty – namely, a wealth of reliable witnesses who came up to brief for the Crown, and, in particular, the evidence of Kim Dotcom’s lawyer, Gregory Towers. In this new private prosecution, unless McCready has one hell of a damning OIA  paper trail, in which Mr Key, Mr Banks and Detective Inspector Benefield all email each other in some cartoon villain fashion, McCready will have nothing.

Nothing but a thirst for publicity.

Consider the shark well and truly jumped.