Goff was on Q & A yesterday arguing that he couldn’t stand Darren Hughes down because this would prejudice the outcome of the police investigation, and various pundits and commentators have argued that standing down a politician before they’ve been found guilty of anything denies them natural justice and holds them to an impossibly higher standard than other members of society.
All of which is rubbish. When the director of a hospital, or a police commander, or the principal of a school is informed by the police that one of their staff members is being investigated they stand their doctor/policeman/teacher down pending the outcome, especially if the undisputed facts around the charges cast grave doubts on the judgement of the accused person – they may even be sacked prior to charges or a court trial. The same standard applies throughout society. If a company director learns his accountant is being investigated for fraud they don’t just leave them in charge of the company books on the grounds that it might prejudice the investigation if they don’t. That’s just silly – no one else holds themselves to this arbitrary standard of justice that Goff has just invented.