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Laws Defends Contempt Charge

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Broadcaster Michael Laws today defended himself in a contempt of court charge heard at the Wanganui District Court today.

The case - Police v Radioworks and Laws - stems from brief comments that Mr Laws is alleged to have made on his talkback show in December 2006. They related to a high profile sexual offender and the relationship with his victims.

A similar charge brought against another Radio Live broadcaster James Coleman was heard in August 2007. The charge was proven, but Mr Coleman was discharged without conviction.

Mr Laws said that he considered "an element of the political" had entered the issue after a much more serious transgression by the Christchurch 'Press' at around the same time "resulted in no charge against the editor or the senior reporter involved."

"I gave evidence today that both the local Police prosecutor and I considered the matter a waste of the court's scarce time. We could have handled this with a simple and sincere apology.

"That said, I defended the charge on the basis that my knowledge was no greater than any member of the public. I did not know the victims - I simply surmised their relationship to the offender from various media reports."

The details of the sex offender and other details relating to the case were suppressed.

Mr Laws' request that the public be allowed to stay to witness today's proceedings was overruled by Judge Ross.

An accredited press rep was allowed to witness the proceedings.

Judge Ross reserved his decision until 14 July.

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