Should the Maori King's son have been discharged without conviction on a drink driving charge?
A judge who discharged the Maori King's son without conviction is suffering from "cultural hypnosis", former Maori Affairs Minister Dover Samuels says.
Korotangi Paki, 19, pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court yesterday to drink driving, two counts of burglary and one of theft.
Judge Philippa Cunningham discharged Paki without conviction on all charges but imposed a special condition that he provide the court evidence he did not have an alcohol problem or if he did, that he had addressed it with counselling.
Paki's lawyer, Paul Wicks QC, told the court a conviction would impede his ability to accede to the throne.
Samuels told Radio New Zealand this morning the judge's decision should not have taken into account Paki's royal status.
"I think the judge is absolutely suffering from some sort of cultural hypnosis," he said.
"I think she's been persuaded and I think she's wrong, and to me I don't think most New Zealander's would support that."
Paki should not have hid behind his royalty and taken responsibility for his actions, Samuels said.
"Most New Zealanders would think that this is a young man who has committed an offence and pleaded guilty to it and would have the courage to stand up and say 'treat me no different to anybody else'," Samuels said.
"It doesn't matter what Tuku Morgan thinks."
Morgan, a former MP and the Maori King's representative, said outside court yesterday the case was a "major turning point in [Paki's] life".
"He's an expectant father and you can see he's brought shame upon his father, his family and Tainui," Morgan said.
He heralded the court's decision as a victory for Maori.
"I think that is a recognition of the uniqueness of this country. Maori tikanga, Maori culture has been recognised today by a very senior court," he said.
Samuels said the uniqueness would have been recognised if Paki had stepped up to his responsibilities and not used his royalty as a cop-out.
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