If there was any whiff of "trial by media" in the Darren Hughes debacle, as Phil Goff now alleges, it was over the way the leader of the Opposition handled it.
As has been repeatedly canvassed, Goff was stupid to think he could conceal the fact that a naked 18-year-old youth ran out of a house where Darren Hughes, chief Labour whip, and Annette King, deputy leader, both lived.
And this occurred after the youth, well-known in Labour circles, had been seen with Hughes at several Wellington bars. The Press Gallery was perfectly entitled to label this a sex scandal - they'd never buy kiss-offs like, oh, maybe the distraught teenager had been taking knitting lessons from King.
When National's Richard Worth was in the gun for allegedly sending lewd texts to a woman he later met in a hotel room, Goff didn't castigate the media for scrutinising Key and Worth. Why so prissy now?
Because Worth is history, but for Hughes it is different. Now the police have announced there will be no charges laid, Labour - and everyone else in Hughes' huge fan club, it seems - are welcoming him back to Parliament, perhaps as early as 2014.
The role of Phil Goff in this whole messy business demands scrutiny. The Labour leader tried to cover these allegations up, and it backfired on him. Even when the story finally broke publicly, Goff's changing positions on a daily basis feulled the story rather than killed it. And Coddington is right to point to the variance between Goff's positions with regard to Darren Hughes and Richard Worth; they couldn't have been more different.
Coddington then turns her attention to Hughes himself, and she's right on the money - check this out:
I, too, was one of Hughes' supporters but my sympathy for him as the underdog let me down. Hughes' arrogance, his refusal to take responsibility for his poor judgment on the night in question and lack of mea culpa leaves serious questions about his suitability as an MP.
Consider what the police actually said. The complaint against the former list MP did not reach the "evidential threshold" required to bring charges.
And how did Hughes respond? With a statement saying "to be falsely accused of something I did not do, let alone a serious crime, has been one of the most challenging experiences in my life".
Police have confirmed this was not a false complaint but Hughes, having been accused of a crime, then turned around and publicly accused this former friend of a crime.
And he thinks he can return to Parliament as an honourable member?
Was this necessary? Why not just thank his supporters? Why not just shut up?
Furthermore, there was nothing in his statement apologising to his caucus colleagues for the considerable trouble he has caused them through his selfishness.
It is all very well to blame a "media frenzy" for having to resign but Hughes chose to take this student home with him after a night out drinking.
After being in Parliament since 2002 and promoted to the position of whip, he still lacks the warning bell in his head which says, "Don't go there".
Once again Coddington is dead right. The police decision not to lay charges against him was not quite the vindication which he claimed, and the police have since pointed out that bthey did not regard the complaint against the former MP as false or vexacious. That is a markedly different outcome to complete exoneration.
Spare a thought for the complainant in all this. Something happened at Annette King's house in Wellington on that March morning; something caused the young man to run naked from the house; something troubled him so much that he went to the police and made a legitimate complaint against a well-known public figure. Hughes has essentially said that the complainant is a liar, and the police have rebutted that.
Only the complainant and Darren Hughes really know what went on that night. Unless one or both tells the whole story, the public perception will be that there is more to this than meets the eye, and perception matters in politics. Time will dim memories, but 2014 might be optimistic in terms of Darren Hughes' aspiration to return to public life.