29 Dec 2011

Lack of judgement seen in comments by MPs

2:20 pm on 29 December 2011

Commentators say two National Party MPs showed a lack of judgement in posting tweets implying the guilt of a teenager charged with an attack on a child in Turangi.

Louise Upston and Tau Henare both tweeted their thoughts after an arrest was made on Wednesday.

Both condemned the accused in separate tweets before he stands trial.

Mr Henare would not comment on tape, but said he stood by what he had written.

However, he says on his twitter account that he may have got carried away with the initial tweet.

Ms Upston says she was only trying to show her support for the police who worked on the case.

She does not believe her comments have jeopardised the accused's chance of a fair trial.

Media law lawyer Steven Price says it's always inadvisable to make public statements about the guilt or innocence of a person before a trial.

However, he says that the twitter comments are likely to have been forgotten by the time the trial comes.

Media commentator Russell Brown says neither Ms Upston nor Mr Henare have demonstrated respect for the law and its processes.

He says legislators have a responsibility to uphold the law.