This is why I fight

Frontpage Dom Post Boxing DayPeople wonder why I pick fights on issues. Look no further that today’s Press where we find that the piece of crap that mugged an 86-year-old victim of a vicious street mugging has received name suppression out of consideration for his 90-year-old grandmother. Surely it can’t take more than a day to the old duck her grandson is an asshole, more to the point she probably already knows it. Where does she live? Iceland? Surely there isn’t anywhere in New Zealand that takes a week just to get to to tell them their grandson is a pig.

If the cops thought that doing me over Christmas would make the issue nice and quiet they were wrong and they clearly don’t understand the power of social media over the Mainstream media.

Yesterday, arguably the quietest news day in the world and on blogs, I was on every radio station, every TV channel and today in every newspaper, including the frontpage of the DomPost highlighting this issue. My site has had the highest number of pageviews EVER, including eclipsing by a factor of 4 my previous best day at the height of the election campaign last year. I have lost count of the interviews I have given.

Now people will be sitting down at their BBQs talking about how crap the suppression laws are, how the perception is that the thugs, the famous and the rich can easily access name suppression willy-nilly.

The laws were written in 1985, the WWW wasn’t even written about until 1989 and it wasn’t until 1990 that a more formal proposal (on November 12, 1990) to build a “Hypertext project” called “WorldWideWeb” was put forward at CERN. On August 6, 1991, he posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. This date also marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet, a full 6 years after the law was written.

Since that time we have seen the emergence with force, of the social media phenomenon with Twitter, Facebook and Myspace as most prominent examples.

The horse has bolted, the law hasn’t and will never keep pace with developments on the internet. Essentially the world has become smaller and the world has become borderless. My story is all over Twitter, it is syndicated worldwide via RSS and through traditional media syndication. It will probably make Boing Boing and Mashable as it is net related, it is just a matter of time.

All the Police have managed to do is make a small issue of a breach of name suppression into a global debate about the rights and wrongs of criminals being able to hide their details when the victims are often publicly named and their pictures shown for all the world to see. This is a first and firsts make news.

whale_wonderwheelI have even considered using social media and net techonologies to develop my defense by putting up a wiki? and letting any lawyer or interested party help develop the defense. Then of course there is the possibility of live Tweeting the case. It has even got to the point where Kiwiblog is hanging off Whaleoil in a Wonderwheel search

This will not go away, and has turned for me from being a bit of a lark to being a full on campaign.

Consider my treatment with that of Michael Laws, who has pledged his support for my cause.

On 16 December 2008, at about 11:22 am, former MP Michael Laws briefly discussed the Peter Ellis/Christchurch Civic Creche case on Radio Live. He referred to two current MPs – Nick Smith and Lianne Dalziell – and their connections to the case. In effect, he identified three of the complainants who testified against Peter Ellis. You will be aware that suppression orders are in place preventing the identification of the child complainants in that case. Interestingly, Laws had previously been warned about breaching suppression orders in regards to a separate case.

The police have never charged Laws in relation to his comments about the Ellis case. It is unclear why that is so, given Laws’ history of breaching suppression orders. Maybe police are simply unaware of Laws’ comments (which is odd when you consider Laws’ history). You would think that police might monitor what Laws says on his radio show. But the argument could be made that Laws’ comments have not harmed the administration of justice. Theoretically I could make a similar argument, using Laws’ comments as an example of how, say, a technical breach may cause no harm to those being commented on. (Have the individuals in my case been harmed by what I have said or done?) I could also argue that police have been selective in charging me but not Laws. Surely, the law applies to all. Furthermore, I could argue that Laws’ breach is more blatant and more serious. He made it very clear who he was referring to.

Note the recording of the Michael Laws piece is posted on Youtube. Does this mean that the person posting it to Youtube is in contempt? How can a NZ court force Youtube to divulge the information about the account holder. What about the person who sent the information to Michael Laws in the first place? Where does contempt begin and end?

Michael Laws was also charged with contempt regarding a separate case of breach of name suppression. For example, Laws testified that?”both the local Police prosecutor and I considered the matter a waste of the court’s scarce time. We could have handled this with a simple and sincere apology.”?(Would the police accept an apology in my case?) He was discharged without conviction.

As you can see this is not as simple as simply breaching Name Suppression.