By ELIZABETH BINNING

The man who threw mud at National Party leader Don Brash at Waitangi has had a charge of disorderly behaviour withdrawn following his completion of diversion.

Kevin Raymond Duncan's actions made headlines throughout the country when he threw a handful of mud at Dr Brash on February 5 while the MP was talking to reporters at the entrance to Te Tii Marae.

Dr Brash flinched, then called out "Good shot" before continuing his impromptu press conference with mud splattered on his face, neck and suit jacket. His popularity has climbed ever since.

Duncan was arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour. He appeared the same afternoon in the Kaikohe District Court.

Yesterday, the case was called again, in the Hamilton District Court. Duncan, 24, a Hamiltonian, had been granted leave not to appear. The hearing lasted all of one minute.

The prosecutor, Sergeant Iain Simpson, told the court the charge had been withdrawn following Duncan's completion of diversion.

The case was then closed without a conviction being entered on Duncan's record.

Diversion is often granted to first-time offenders who acknowledge their wrongdoing. Instead of a conviction, the person agrees to some other form of penalty, usually community service, a donation or reparation to the victim.

A spokesman for Dr Brash said the politician did not lodge a formal complaint over the mud-slinging.

"Don Brash wasn't listed as a complainant," he said.

"The prosecution has always been in the hands of the police."

The spokesman said Dr Brash was happy with the way the police had handled the case.

"We respect the independence of the police and are relaxed about the decision to go with diversion."

Duncan is a self-employed developer of kohanga reo teacher aids and is of Tainui's Ngati Koroki.

It is believed he was at Waitangi promoting a Maori language magazine when he threw the mud at Dr Brash.

Herald Feature: Sharing a Country

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