Had Darren Hughes not been an MP the complaint against him might not have been reported.
It certainly wouldn’t have been reported in as much detail as it was and that prompted Phil Goff to say he was subjected to trial by media.
Some media went too far in pursuing the complainent, whose name is suppressed. But you can’t blame journalists for trying to get a story like this when it concerned an MP.
He will not be charged but that is not the same thing as clearing his name, especially when police said they had no concerns about the validity of the complaint.
This has led to calls for him to explain what happened on the night in question.
The private life of public figures is not as private as that of other citizens, especially if what they’ve done reflects on their judgement.
But Hughes has resigned as an MP, is no longer a public figure and therefore is under no obligation to explain anything.
If however, he wants to return to public life he will need to make an explanation and an apology for what could be described in the kindest light as a serious lapse of judgement.
Unless he does any suggestion of a return to public life will be overshadowed by doubts and questions.
If a story like this had broken on almost any other MP there would have been at least a few people willing to twist the knife or spill some dirt. That there wasn’t shows an unusual degree of affection for him from colleagues, not just on his side of the political divide, and the media.
But if he wants to return to public life he can’t rely on his likeability to prevent this episode coming back to haunt him unless he fronts up about it. And if he is considering a come-back then the sooner he explains and apologises the better.