Whatever Darren Hughes did or didn't do, it more probably than not wasn't criminal. Can we all move on now? ... thought not.
So the police have concluded that there is insufficient evidence regarding the allegations of sexual offending against Darren Hughes to warrant his prosecution. I doubt that this will be the end of the matter as far as some folks are concerned - the linked report refers to an "anonymous letter" sent to media organisations raising further allegations - but I stand by my comments in the thread to this previous post on the "Hughes' Affair":
Agreed that a decision not to press any charges does not necessarily mean "nothing much happened - and certainly nothing criminal" ... it may be that the police simply consider there isn't enough evidence to justify charges (in that there is a low probability of a conviction being obtained). However, I suspect that if this comes down to a "he said"/"he said" situation with nothing much to back one side over the other, the police will err on the side of bringing matters before a court. In part, that's because of a general awareness that such allegations have not been taken seriously enough in the past, and in part it's because the police will be desirous of avoiding "cover up" allegations. Hence, I'd read a decision not to lay charges as weighing a bit more on the side of "nothing criminal happened" than on the side of "maybe something criminal happened, but there just isn't enough to say for sure".
Of course, as Anthony Weiner presently is discovering, not breaking the law isn't necessarily enough to save a political career once the scent of "sexual misconduct" hits the air. And Hughes' political fate was effectively sealed once the decision to try and keep the matter under wraps was taken by Phil Goff. So, sad all around - and by that I mean that we can't forget there is an 18-year-old man who now has to face being "the guy Darren Hughes did something with" for the foreseeable future.
But while we're on the point of the police erring one way or the other, let me just echo David Farrar's criticism of Stuart Nash and Andrew Little for publicly calling on the police to hurry up their decision. It's not on for political figures to be seen to be pressuring the police to act or not act - I said it when John Key did it, and I say it again here. Just 'cause you are a politician who can get the media to report what you say does not mean that you should say whatever it is you are thinking on a topic.