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Paul Casserly: The court of public opinion

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Steve Hansen showed 'excessive expression' during the test match between the All Blacks and the Irish at Eden Park. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Steve Hansen showed 'excessive expression' during the test match between the All Blacks and the Irish at Eden Park. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The court of public opinion has been busier than usual in the past few weeks.
Here's a summary of some of the most contentious and high-profile cases - as seen on TV.

Case 1: The People Vs Steve Hansen

The court has heard that Steve Hansen has shown "excessive expression" during the test match between the All Blacks and the Irish at Eden Park.

He was seen by 986,210 witnesses "wantonly clapping the back of his hand" in a fashion un-becoming of an All Black coach. The prosecutor pointed out that at this rate he'll be fist-pumping, break-dancing and "exposing his moobs" by the end of the month.

Justice Chuckles reminded the court that Graham Henry barely cracked a smile in his first few years at the helm. "It'll be like a god-damned Lady Gaga concert in the coaches box if we let this go on unchecked."

However a character witness from the South Island was called who praised Hansen for his "Grizz Wylie like" manner, "He's no John Hart, and thank god for that." Another praised the coach's skilful oratory and "eloquence."

Case 2: The Fatal Shore.

The court has heard that Paul Henry, formerly of Auckland, has been subjected to "unlawful levels of schadenfreude" by the New Zealand public, as his career flounders on the rocks, not far from The Rocks, in Australia.

Fijians, Indians and members of the Greenpeace fraternity have come under suspicion of enjoying Henry's failure "way too much" and in a manner "likely to cause offence to Mr Henry's ego."

It was also noted that sales of Mr Henry's memoir, What Was I Thinking, have suffered dramatically. Evidence was provided that the book was now selling for as low as $10 on trademe. A book-seller, who was called as an expert witness, said the book was probably not even a good deal at that price, and told the court - "I mean you can get a signed copy of the Jeremy Coney classic, The Playing Mantis for $7." But under further questioning the book seller conceded that this did not include an extra $5 for bubble wrap and postage.

Case 3: Elsie Tanner and the ACC

The court has found that the ACC has been very, very naughty.
Following what the prosecution described 'as a fair and balanced' story on 60 Minutes, the court understands that the mandarins at the corporation have been well and truly exposed for some nasty tricks in their ongoing campaign against Bronwyn Pullar. Heads have rolled. As have eyes. The recorded evidence that purported to show Ms Pullar and her mate Elsie Tanner, weren't in any way trying to leverage, strong-arm or indeed 'blackmail' the ACC, was met with gasps of "yeah right" from the public gallery - which was soon cleared after the baliff thundered - "get those Tui promo girls out of here!"
In his closing, Justice Shaggy pointed out an earlier mistake made by a witness - "that's not Elsie Tanner, it's Michelle bloody Boag, but be careful what you say, she may be wearing a wire."

He also commended Green MP Kevin Hague for coining the term - "culture of disentitlement."

Case 4: What the Hekia?

The court recognises that the schoolteacher who made the "What the Hekia?" sign that featured heavily on the TV news is deserving of recognition in next year's honours list. Justice Ahooga believed that the sign was up there with Winston's infamous 'No', although it's not quite as good as Father Ted's 'Down with this sort of thing.'

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