Former Whanganui mayor and broadcaster Michael Laws has come out on Facebook expressing his sympathy for the woman charged over a racially-motivated attack in Huntly.
Megan Walton, 27, appeared in Hamilton District Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to behaving in an insulting manner that was likely to cause violence and to two charges of assault.
Walton, from Auckland, assaulted and insulted Muslim woman Mehpara Khan, 28, who had stopped for a toilet break with friends in Huntly on Saturday on their way back to Auckland.
Walton came out of the toilet intoxicated with two cans of alcohol which she threw at Khan but missed her.
She also threw a punch which Khan blocked and Khan's friend blocked the second attempted punch.
Laws, who is now a councillor on the Otago Regional Council, posted an article about the incident on his Facebook page, saying: "I actually feel sympathy."
"Her media gang-banging and public humiliation are clearly gratuitous.
"She is obviously a deeply troubled woman who, realistically, harmed no one."
Laws said he had encountered "far worse on manifest occasions" during his time as
"I actually think, for once, that the reconciliation process will be very useful."
Laws said in the comments he believed anybody "of any difference" would have "copped it" from Walton that day.
"I suspect mental health issues."