The John Key ponytail saga rolls on with a private prosecution being launched the other day by a member of the public. And in a surprise move the woman at the centre of the story is also considering legal action possibly against John Key and possibly against her employer.
The private prosecution is being brought by serial citizen litigant Graeme McCready, a man well known to send public figures to court. McCready has filed papers alleging John Key assaulted waitress Amanda Bailey over a number of months. The interesting thing about this case is that both victim and alleged offender agree the assaults took place. In other words it appears the facts of the case are not in dispute. In an intriguing twist Bailey has apparently asked McCready not to go ahead with his private prosecution because she may take legal action herself through her union. Bailey may take action against her employer presumably arguing that it nothing to stop the abuse.
The big question is should John Key be prosecuted at all? He has apologised and offered two bottles of wine to Amanda Bailey which she has accepted. Surely that’s a done deal, justice is served right? Wrong! A quick sorry and a couple of bottles of cheap plonk is no compensation for months of sexual harassment, technical assault, embarrassment and humiliation. The Prime Minister had no right whatsoever to lay his chubby hands on this vulnerable service worker, she was just doing her job. So he ‘misread’ the situation and thought it was just horsing-around, but he didn’t ask if she consented to be touched and social etiquette says ‘a little bit of witty banter is fine, but no touching’. It steps over a boundary that John Key is old enough to understand exists.
This case is about the abuse of power of one person over another weaker one. The Prime Minister is in a privilege position after all he IS the leader of the country and he IS the customer and the customer is always right. The Prime Minister can mobilize armies and has powerful friends in high places. He has security to keep people away from him, but nobody protected Amanda Bailey from what he wanted to do to her. Interesting to note that there were at least eleven witnesses and nobody objected to his behaviour, presumably because he’s the main man. Mind you if he was trying anything sinister would he do it in plain sight? Surely he must have thought he was doing nothing wrong. A sign of a sense of entitlement perhaps.
John Key says his actions weren’t sexist, but I doubt he’d be off touching men without consent. In fact no men have stepped forward to make complaints so far. There’s footage of him touching the hair of other females and none of him doing the same to males. I guess it’s only females he does it to. Serious cases of sexual assault have taken place because someone ‘misread’ the situation, but there was surely no ambiguity here everyone had their personal space respected except Amanda Bailey. And I wonder if John Key would be happy for his wife or daughter to be subjected to this kind of behaviour.
But wait has this case been blown out of all proportion? Has John Key already been punished for what is at the lower end of the assault spectrum? Well no, on both points. When the leader of the country, the most powerful man in the land puts his hands on somebody (particularly a young female) without that person giving consent then yes it’s big news and so it should be. As to whether he’s been punished or not. I don’t think punishment comes into it. Sure he might feel embarrassed, but so might Amanda Bailey through no fault of her own. No he hasn’t been punished at all. I say let him have his day in court, let him defend whatever charges may be brought, let Amanda Bailey (the alleged victim) point the finger at John Key and we’ll hear what he has to say in full.
Written by James King