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Is A Fair Trial Possible?

The Prime Minister’s action in sacking Dover Samuels is inappropriate, ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today.

“Helen Clark is prejudging Mr Samuels before the police inquiry is completed. Should any issues arise from the police inquiry, the Prime Minister has prejudiced any further action.

“She has also questioned the credibility of the mother. She then attacked the young woman, asking ‘why the 14 year delay in bringing this forward?’ Now she prejudges her own Minister,” he said.

“New Zealanders believe in fairness. The allegations are deplorable, but Mr Samuels is still entitled to say he is innocent until proven guilty. The trial by media that all the participants have been put through by the media is a gross abuse of the power of her office,” he said.

“It is unfortunate the Prime Minister did not follow my advice and appoint a senior member of the legal profession to head an investigation. I believe Helen Clark has seen this as an issue of politics when it is really a question of law,” he said.

Mr Prebble said that neither he nor any MP from the ACT Party had requested the Prime Minister take this action. “Nor had we raised the matter in Parliament or elsewhere. The Prime Minister decided to attack me because, as we now know, Mr Samuels had already spoken to Paul Holmes,” he said.

“The Prime Minister’s claim that Maori leaders called the resignation is also untrue. It’s just another of a number of statements by the Prime Minister that are not true. The real reason for the sacking is that Labour’s own polling has shown that the defence of Mr Samuels is damaging Labour’s support,” he said.

“Helen Clark’s responsibility as Prime Minister is to uphold the rule of law, not to govern by spin doctors,” said Richard Prebble.

ENDS

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