25 Apr 2015

Hurdles for private #ponytailgate prosecution

10:28 am on 25 April 2015

Private criminal proceedings filed against the Prime Minister for pulling a waitress' hair are unlikely to go very far, the Criminal Bar Association says.

Graham McCready.

Graham McCready - known for pursuing private prosecutions - plans to submit a charging document for assault. Photo: RNZ

Wellington man Graham McCready has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal and plans to submit a charging document for assault against John Key in the Auckland District Court in May.

Amanda Bailey

Amanda Bailey Photo: FACEBOOK

Criminal Bar Association president Tony Bouchier said Mr McCready did not need the backing of the woman involved to file proceedings but such a document would need to supply detailed evidence of what happened.

"There's a whole bunch of matters that need to be looked at and I'm sure that before any charge is laid, particularly by Mr McCready, that it will be looked at critically by a judicial officer."

Mr McCready has also made an official complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, asking it to look at whether two members of the Prime Minister's diplomatic protection squad should have intervened during the incidents.

However, C4 Group chief executive Chris Lawton - a former police officer and bodyguard - said yesterday that it was not the job of the protection squad to tell the Prime Minister how to act socially.

He said in a private social situation like a cafe visit, diplomatic protection staff would be taking a backseat approach.

'I've been too casual'

Mr Key has apologised to the waitress, named as 26-year-old Amanda Bailey, for repeatedly pulling her ponytail while she was at work.

He and his wife Bronagh were regulars at the Auckland cafe where Ms Bailey worked.

Asked about the incident while in Turkey on Friday, Mr Key said he had misread the situation and would learn from the experience.

"There were clearly a few hijinks and a bit of horsing around. I think in hindsight and on reflection, I should not have been as casual as that," Mr Key said.

"That's been one of my strengths, that I'm pretty casual and laid-back and good for a laugh a lot of times, but that's also led to a situation where I've been too casual."