Friday, August 8, 2014

Name suppression in New Zealand summary trial

A past post wondered about name suppression practice in New Zealand. The wind may be shifting. According to this article, permanent name suppression has been denied to an officer who was found guilty of procedural irregularities (backdating) in connection with a search authorization. The officer's name has now been made public, apparently on the theory that his current civilian employment as a court administrator gives the public an interest in knowing about his misconduct. A news outlet, Fairfax Media, successfully argued against permanent name suppression.
After receiving notice of Fairfax's intention to challenge name suppression, the disciplinary officer hearing the charges made a further suppression order before hearing Fairfax's submissions.
In a hearing yesterday, lawyer Robert Stewart, for Fairfax, argued an acquittal did not automatically mean suppression should be granted. Cummins' new job - in a "crucial arm of government" - meant the public should be entitled to debate and comment on his conduct.
[Defense counsel Lt. Col. Steve] Watt argued permanent name suppression should be granted because the process was an internal disciplinary matter and publication would cause "disproportionate harm" to his reputation.
[Disciplinary officer Brigadier Charles] Lott did not accept the statutory criteria for a permanent suppression order had been satisfied, and agreed to revoke the suppression.
Quaere: When should an accused's name be suppressed?

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