Anger after Maori king's son escapes conviction in New Zealand
Published on Jul 4, 2014 1:13 PM
WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand's courts were facing criticism on Friday after the son of the Maori king escaped conviction on theft and drink driving charges because it could jeopardise his chances of inheriting the title.
Korotangi Paki, 19, pleaded guilty to the charges but a judge discharged him without conviction on Thursday, saying he needed an "unblemished" record if he was to succeed his father, King Tuheitia.
Critics said the decision amounted to special treatment for the young royal and other indigenous New Zealanders were not treated so leniently by the court system.
"It's time, perhaps, that judges come back to this planet and recognise that their job is to apply justice equally to everybody," former Maori affairs minister Dover Samuels, who has an indigenous background, told commercial radio.
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