NZ Minister McCully Urged to Resign After Errors in Malaysian Diplomat Case

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By Reissa Su | July 14, 2014 12:33 PM EST

After New Zealander Tania Billingsley revealed herself on television as the alleged victim of the Malaysian diplomat who is facing charges of assault, legal experts have warned of endangering the suspect's fair trial. New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully was called to resign because of the way the government is handling the case.

REUTERS/Samsul Said
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft parks on tarmac of Kuala Lumpur International Airport outside Kuala Lumpur June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said (MALAYSIA - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)

According to reports, an online petition has called for Mr Cully's resignation. The campaign has gathered more than 250 signatures, including the signature of alleged Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. However, Mr Craig said he never signed any petition despite trying to "win the seat off Mr McCully."

He said it was "premature" to ask McCully to resign despite his mistake in handling the investigation.

Labour Party foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer may be on the verge of saying McCully should resign when he suggested the minister should acknowledge his failure. Shearer suggested McCully offer his resignation.

Shearer and the Greens are calling for an external and independent review of the way the ministry handled the Malaysian diplomat's case.

According to reports, a spokesperson for the foreign minister said McCully has nothing to add to his earlier statement. He did not address calls for his resignation but only said he publicly apologised to Billingsley for the way the case was handled.

Billingsley, the 21-year-old woman who lives in Wellington, appeared in an interview with television network TV3. She said New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully should resign from his post for his inability to monitor her case and continuously blames others for his mistakes.

Malaysian officials had promised to return Rizalman to New Zealand so he can face charges. According to Billingsley, she was "angry" and frustrated" that New Zealand had allowed Rizalman to leave the country.

NZ Law Society President Chris Moore has warned that media coverage of the Malaysian diplomat case may be "interfering" with the process of the law. Auckland University law professor Warren Brookbanks said the diplomat Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail may be prejudged in court due to public opinion. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Samsul Said / )
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft parks on tarmac of Kuala Lumpur International Airport outside Kuala Lumpur June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said (MALAYSIA - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)
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