John Mortimer's wonderful character Rumpole called it the Golden Thread of the Justice System; the presumption of that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
Things are a little different in politics, but Annette King and Labour seem to be taking things to a new level. We've just listened to the weekly session with Ms King, Steven Joyce and Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB. It seems that Annette King is the president, secretary and treasurer of the ABC Club (Anyone But Cunliffe) as she has been the only Labour MP to defend the beleaguered David Shearer so far.
But in Annette King's world, this is how it works; you make an allegation based on hearsay, and the onus is on the person against whom the allegation is made to prove you wrong. And even when they do, you continue to repeat the allegation.
Ms King is adamant that David Shearer is on solid ground with his GCSB allegations because Labour's GCSB mole told them so. No matter that there was NEVER a video or audio recording, and no matter that the GCSB has categorically denied that any video or audio files (if they ever existed) have been deleted. Labour will continue to repeat the allegation ad nauseum in the hope that mud will stick.
This is very poor form from Annette King and from David Shearer. Labour should simply accept that its attempt to smear John Key has failed. The longer they continue to try and fight this battle in the Court of Public Opinion, the more damage will be done.
Labour was kicked out of office in 2008 in part because people were sick and tired of the mud-slinging. The Party received its lowest-ever party vote in 2011 as the public noticed that nothing had changed. And even now, Labour continues to fling mud. That David Shearer has politicised the GCSB and made serious allegations of misconduct which he cannot substantiate is a new low.
If David Shearer has proof of what he has alleged went on at the GCSB, let him table it. If he does not, he should shut up, after apologising to those public servants whose reputations he has tarnished with his attempt to play "gotcha" with John Key. The burden of proof is entirely on the person who has made the allegations; David Shearer.