Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mark Latham is not a criminal

Mark Latham's very public demise has at least avoided a criminal conviction. Earlier this year he got into trouble when he took exception to a photographer taking pictures of him with his kids. This is fair enough, but Latham actually wrestled the camera from the News Corp journo, took it home and smashed it.

Today the courts put him on a good behaviour bond for two years rather than finding him guilty of malicious damage. The SMH reports that the judge in the case describe Latham's actions as:
"...way out of line. He has certainly overstepped the mark in relation to the

Latham is a tragic character and he's lucky to have avoided the criminal conviction. That said, I think the judge has clearly determined that the journalist's actions were provocative in handing down this sentence.


ihategeorge said...

I can understand the temptation Latham clearly didn't have the willpower to resist! Surely the bigger issue is the extent to which we believe that going into politics means giving up your right (and the right of your family) to have a private life?

If the private lives of political leaders are going to be fair game, coupled with the fact that most of them could earn a lot more elsewhere, who on earth will want to do it? And do we seriously believe that the only people who will be good politicians are the ones with squeaky clean pasts? In my view, some of the best MPs are the ones who have made the most mistakes and learned from them...

backin15 said...

Good points. Sadly though, Latham has a poor track record which means any transgression is seen as further evidence that he's a bovver boy.

I do think that politicians private lives should be generally excluded from the media. I remember when Shipley was PM she frequently wandered around the Te Papa site with family members and was generally left alone.

I also agree that our political class ought to be drawn from the general population which means we'll get all sorts and thank god frankly. Long gone are the days when only lawyers, doctors, and farmers were in parliament.

proud2bkiwi said...

I agree with both your comments, but I sense that things are changing. Politcians historical mistakes and their family life are becoming more common targets of media comment. Sadly, some policians have encouraged this, David Benson-Pope doing a photo-op with his family the day after Judith Collins made a fresh series of allegations against his family being a case in point.

You are right Paul, if we want a truly representative system of government, then we need to be willing to accept that we will really have all types represented, and we need to be able to live with that without tearing them to pieces...

backin15 said...

again I agree ... the attacks on DPB seemed particularly vicious and Collins role really surprised me - I wasn't sure why she made some many hysterical comments? Perhaps she was competing with Hide for the right to scalp him should it come to that - an odd little mob really.