A few weeks ago I wrote a teasing article suggesting Tauranga lawyer Mary-Ann McCarty had come up with a unique prison avoidance defense on behalf of her criminal client.

Specifically, I joked that she tried to murder the Judge by inducing a heart attack with two hilarious reasons why her client should not be imprisoned. They didn’t work and he copped a 27-year sentence. This week I received an understandably indignant letter from Ms McCarty saying she said no such thing.

So why did I write this? Simple: Because I read it on our largest newspaper chain, STUFF’s website.

It transpires that when Ms McCarty complained to Stuff they published an apology.

But in typical journalistic deceit I’m certainly well familiar with, rather than publish a straight out apology they instead ran a lengthy 2000 word account of the trial, interspersed with 7 photographs to pad it out, such as one of a ship, another of a plastic bag containing cocaine and one of the Rotorua court House.

Then at the bottom of this lengthy piece, without any heading and in a faint type-face they wrote, “this story has been corrected to reflect that Habulin’s (the 27 year sentenced defendant) cultural report was cited by Justice Powell at sentencing, not Habulin’s lawyer Mary-Ann McCarty. Stuff apologies to Ms McCarty for this error.”

In other words an unbelievable piece of stupidity by the reporter attributing the cultural report’s comments to Ms McCarty.

But what grates with me is their disgraceful attempt to virtually hide their mistake and apology. Had they any integrity they’d have led with an apology and in bold type, as I’ve done with this piece, notwithstanding my report written in a joke fashion which no reader would take seriously, whereas they would with Stuff’s straight forward report.

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And here I had gone and imagined that next, having growing frustrated at the lack of success inducing a heart attack, she took matters into her own hands and attempted to bludgeon the judge to death with a sharpened stiletto heel. The desperate charge to close distance brandishing her footwear causing such a commotion as to allow her client to discretely slip away, who after weeks on the run ends up laying low as an Antarctic groundskeeper, in bitter irony shovelling snow for the rest of his life.

Reality can sometimes be disappointing I suppose…

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