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Posts Tagged 'Darren Hughes'

Darren Hughes – Sometimes you just know you got it right.

Webb

The Darren Hughes case in a nutshell:

An 18-year-old male student lays a complaint of a sexual nature with police against a prominent Member of Parliament who has what is generally agreed to be a glittering career ahead of him. 

Speculation as to what may have happened dominates the media for weeks to come. It includes talk of a naked man fleeing from Hughes’ lodgings in the early hours of the morning.

Hughes eventually resigns from Parliament on the grounds that this speculation and the widespread publicity make it impossible for him to effectively do his job as an MP and a Labour Party spokesman.

He repeatedly denies having done anything wrong.

The police take three-and-a-half months to reach a decision on whether or not to lay charges against Hughes.

They finally decide that: ‘After this careful consideration, the allegations do not reach the evidential threshold required to bring charges. As a result, no charges will be brought against Mr Hughes.’

Well, that’s all right then. Or is it?   Read the rest of this entry »

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Why are the police dragging their heels in the Darren Hughes case?

It is now almost three months since Darren Hughes returned  to his  Wellington lodgings in the early hours of March 2,  accompanied by an 18-year-old man who is said to have later run naked from the house in a state of considerable distress. The 18-year-old subsequently laid a complaint ‘of a sexual nature’ against  Hughes, the precise nature of which has  yet to be revealed. Hughes later resigned from Parliament.

Only two people, Hughes and the young man, know precisely what happened that night. They are the only first-hand witnesses.

This makes it both easier and more difficult for the police to decide whether to prosecute Hughes. Easier, because there are only two first hand witnesses; and more difficult because independent corroboration of either  of their stories seems virtually impossible.

Their creditability as witnesses will therefore lie at the core of the police’s decision whether to accept the young man’s complaint and charge Hughes or to conclude that there is insufficient evidence to undertake a prosecution.

Hughes’ resignation from Parliament cannot be taken as evidence of guilt. The very existence of a complaint of a sexual nature against him made his position as an electorate MP and front bench Labour spokesman untenable. He could not go on doing his job.

As for the 18-year-old, aspects of  his behaviour seem to require explanation:   Read the rest of this entry »

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Darren Hughes Resigns

The news is now out that Phil Goff has accepted Darren Hughes’ resignation. That is either an act of extreme self-sacrifice on Hughes’ part or an indication that the findings of the police investigation, even if they fall short of  justifying a prosecution, may make his position untenable. In either case, this is a personal  tragedy for Hughes, a political tragedy for the Labour Party and, in my submission, a matter of deep regret for anyone who has watched this talented and hugely personable MP’s career.

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A Hypothesis: Let’s assume for the moment that Darren Hughes is telling the truth.

Cartoon by Webb

Let’s assume just for the moment that Darren Hughes is telling the truth when he says he did nothing wrong when he took an eighteen-year-old back to his lodgings in the early hours of March 2.

Let’s set the bar even higher and assume that Hughes is not just relying on the letter of the law when he says he did nothing wrong, but  that  nothing of a sexual nature, nothing ‘improper’ in any way  took place. They had a cup of coffee and continued talking politics until the 18-year-old left.
And finally, let’s not worry about the probability or lack of probability of these assumptions or where this leaves the 18-year-old and his complaint to the police.
We’re simply considering a hypothesis: Darren Hughes is completely innocent.
This hypothesis was debated  on last night’s Close Upby three very experienced and very knowledgeable commentators: former Labour Party president, Mike Williams, former Labour MP, John Tamihere and Dr Bryce Edwards, blogger and lecturer in Politics at Otago University.

Asked whether Hughes political  aspirations were dog-tucker even if no prosecution were taken against him – effectively a declaration that he had broken no law – all three agreed that that was indeed the case. One expressed the reservation that if the police dealt with the matter quickly, there was a chance that Hughes might survive – a reasonably unlikely scenario, given the cops’ historic tardiness in dealing with this sort of matter.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Herald offers the inside story on Darren Hughes’ ‘fateful night’. Read it and be there!

 

Andrew Gorrie/Dom Post

Here are the known facts about the Darren Hughes matter:

On March 2, after taking part in a humorous debate, MP and Labour Party Chief Whip, Darren Hughes, went with a dozen or so students to the Matterhorn bar and restaurant in Wellington’s Cuba Street. Mr Hughes was next seen with a group of people at The Establishment in Courtenay Place. The President of the Victoria University Debating Club, who saw him there, described him as ‘just having a chat to people around him, being a good guy. He wasn’t particularly drunk. He seemed fine.’

Mr Hughes left the Establishment Club with an 18-year old male student. The two went to Annette King’s home where Mr Hughes boards. Mrs King was in bed asleep at the time. The student left some time later and is reported to have ‘run into a police car’. He then made a complaint to the police about Mr Hughes. The complaint has been widely reported in the media as being ‘of a sexual nature’.

Police are reported to have  questioned Mr Hughes and to have  visited  Ms King’s house and taken items away. They confirm that they are investigating a complaint against an MP.

Mr Hughes, who yesterday volunteered that he was the MP concerned,  has been given leave by Labour Party Leader Phil Goff and has voluntarily stood down as Chief Whip and Education spokesman.

Mr Hughes is adamant that he has ‘done nothing wrong’.

[That explanation took 231 words.]

The New Zealand Herald devoted the greater part of its front page and all of Page Two  to what it called the ‘LABOUR MP SAGA’.

Its front page headline (and its billboard) read ‘Inside Accused MP’s fateful night’.   Read the rest of this entry »

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