Michael Laws on Name Suppression

Michael Laws has a great column in the SST today explaining why it is that he is supporting me.

PREJUDICE #235: “Bloggers” are opinionated losers who spend way too much time in darkened rooms. They have porn addictions, staple microwave pizza to their bibs, are blubbery and smell.

This peculiar purview has been harboured ever since blogging became the online onanism. Which was the first day some idiot decided to anonymously opine and imagined that people gave a continental.

I’m probably still right. If I was to take a cross-section of bloggers I’d wager that most don’t have a partner or a wardrobe, are in desperate need of a stomach staple and regard deodorant as the devil’s snare. They would also be exceedingly jealous of each other: like literary fiction writers. Too many only children, I suspect.

Well I do have a partner wife and she is a woman, and two kids, a reasonable wardrobe even if everything has my logo on it, I am a little overweight but I do use deodorant and I am not an only child. looks like I’m in the clear with Michael then.

I have been content with this conceit for many years. Indeed, as a middle-aged, white male I am content with any number of conceits ? that is our culture. We are a parade of primness when it comes to the vices of others. But occasionally one is required to re-examine one’s prejudices, and so I’ve been unnerved this past week.

Cue Cameron Slater. He goes by the oddest of blog monikers ? Whale Oil ? and is, to be charitable, not Brad Pitt. Not Brad Pitt’s bottom nor even Brad’s dad’s.

No, he is right, Brad Pitt I ain’t, but then who would want to be some pinko actor that thinks it is cool running around adopting cute little black kids.

This would not worry him at all ? as his publicity shot shows. He has embraced his inner disquiet and decided “to hell with it”. Which marks him as the kind of unathletic anti-hero our gym teachers always warned us about.

Yet here I am this Sunday morning proclaiming the virtues of an opinionated eccentric who is making a tangible difference to the New Zealand justice system. By defying it, and by deliberately releasing the clues and keys that unravel all those anti-democratic and self-serving suppression orders.

He is right. Suppression orders are anti-democratic and self serving. I think I am an opinionated eccentric though the pinkos would call me far worse. One thing Michael, I’m pretty fit and strong, just ask Buck. And yes I think I am making a tangible difference than sitting in a select committee room being ignored by pompous politicians who think they know best and do what they want anyway. By causing a ruckus and tapping into the public I have been much more effective.

Is this illegal? You betcha. Which is why Cameron Slater is facing criminal charges for outing a musician convicted of sleazing teenage girls, a Nelson-based ex-MP charged with indecent assault, and a prominent former Olympian facing serious spousal abuse charges, including rape.

By doing so, Slater has earned the censure and contempt, ironically, of most of the so-called blogger community. One simple reason: they’re jealous. He has also earned the mildest of rebukes from Prime Minister John Key but then John Key only does mild. He was only ever so slightly concerned by Hone Harawira’s racist outburst ? Chauncey Gardiner at his best.

The only people I have earned censure and contempt from are pinkos, and even some of them are on my side, even if they just keep that quietly to themselves, but the emails of support and advice are enough to tell me that not all of the blogosphere are against me, just my methods. But if it is ok for pinkos to ignore methods and it is the end result that counts then I think I am on the right track. Remember Chris Trotter once said that the theft by Labour of $800,000 of tax payers money was ethical because it kept National of power. Words he has never recanted. The reality is that the pinkos care only for democracy when it suits them, they prefer totalitarianism especially people like Keith Locke, and they are only reacting with rage against me because it is me. If Russell “My shit doesn’t stink” Brown was doing this they would be all in favour.

Slater does not care. The worst penalty will be a conviction and a fine of $1000. If it is ever collected. He does not face incarceration nor a meeting of his creditors.

I discovered this myself in 2008 when charged with exactly the same crime. I had inadvertently blurted out on my radio show information that might have led to the identification of Graeme Capill’s victims. In many ways it was a much more serious transgression than Slater’s. Although my argument was that I had no idea who the victims were: I simply pieced together the newspaper reports and reached the obvious conclusion.

This is my beef. We have kiddy fuckers, rapists, bashers and kidnappers out on the streets and no one is monitoring their whereabouts, yet the Police are monitoring me. Those same kiddy fuckers, rapists bashers and kidnappers also have orders preventing them from approaching children and their alleged victims. But here is the rub, how can other members of the public keep an eye on these scum if we are prevented from knowing who they are in the first place? How are we supposed to rat on “the Comedian” for example if he is seen lurking around children’s playgrounds if we don’t know who he is? By naming the accused and employing the Capill precedent then the accused would be under virtual house arrest and the victim protected. The law as it stands is woefully inadequate and does not do what the law was intended to do and that is protect the victims. We know this because by following the clues in the media we can identify the accused and also the victim especially in the “ex-MP” case. But it is me who is before the courts and the Herald on Sunday.

Slater does not care. The worst penalty will be a conviction and a fine of $1000. If it is ever collected. He does not face incarceration nor a meeting of his creditors.

I discovered this myself in 2008 when charged with exactly the same crime. I had inadvertently blurted out on my radio show information that might have led to the identification of Graeme Capill’s victims. In many ways it was a much more serious transgression than Slater’s. Although my argument was that I had no idea who the victims were: I simply pieced together the newspaper reports and reached the obvious conclusion.

For example, we know that two former MPs are facing criminal charges ? one for fraud and perverting the course of justice, the other for indecently assaulting a 13-year-old. But we also know more. The Auckland-based ex-MP was, we have been informed, a prominent parliamentarian. The Nelson ex-MP is based in ? yes, Nelson.

This does severely proscribe the potential. And also draws a wicked inference upon those who fit the above descriptions. Which is the inherent unfairness of the current suppression system: it narrows the culprit to a group and so puts all in that group under suspicion.

So it is with Auckland-based comedians who have appeared on TV: many publicly proclaiming their innocence to distance themselves from the taint. And, ironically, further reducing the pool of suspects after one of their number was charged with the very nasty abuse of a four-year-old.

Similarly, there can be only a handful ? literally ? of former MPs based in Nelson. The secret defendant was not Philip Woolaston, Geoffrey Palmer, Graham Thorne (who was a Nelson city councillor) or Mike Ward. But every one of them has been unfairly captured by the media sub-group.

The reach of my blog WAS minimal until the Police charged me. Now many, many more people read it and more importantly for me many have stayed as readers. The peak day of publicity more than 50,000 unique views were registered.

But the greatest problem with name suppression is that it denies the principle of an open and transparent judicial system. Justice must be seen to be done and suppression is entirely antithetical of that imperative. If the argument is that suppression will protect the potential identity of the victim then the Capill precedent is protection enough. All such details were suppressed. As I discovered.

Precisely. Very few people today know and thus don’t care about who exactly the victim/s were. We do however care deeply who the accused and the guilty are.

And then, for a moment, dwell upon the unfortunate and recent reputations imposed upon ex-All Black Robin Brooke and former MP and Children’s Commissioner Roger McClay. Both were publicly condemned because they are under investigation for alleged transgressions ? but have been charged with absolutely nothing. Their reputations have taken a public battering: those actually charged with serious offences have escaped public attention.

Exactly. The pinkos who have been attacking me seem to think having total suppression UNTIL proven guilty is the solution. It isn’t. It will cause even more public rage. But then since most of them were public apologists for the Electoral Finance Act nothing else would surprise me. Consider too their deafening silence that I am now on a watch list, under constant surveillance as though i am a terrorist. Can you imagine the shrieks of outrage from the pinkos at The Standard if the same was applied to them. They would in short order have 37 posts of intense umbrage at the police state that John Key has secretly put in place and had share in, so he could steal more money from New Zealand in some sort of great conspiracy. That is is me, not doubt their commenter, enablers and authors think this is bloody good fun and serves me right. Well if they won’t stand for the rights of their opponents then whose rights will they stand for?

Blogger Slater is challenging such legal shibboleths and all power to him. His tilt, and those of his fellow internet communicators, will likely have more political effect than the recent and arid tome of the Law Commission. Because Slater is refining an aged principle in the newest medium. And because the current law so obviously deviates from any objective for justice.

Michael Laws is dead right. The Law Commission report on name suppression is actually a worse solution than our current law. their solution is to toughen penalties rather than look at a better way. Just because they are lawyers with endless letters after their names and investments in bloodstock does not give them a monopoly on clear thinking. The answer is actually a very simple law that judges do not have to interpret that makes all New Zealanders equal before the law. The current law does not and neither will the Law Commission recommendations.

Of concern also is Simon “FIGJAM” Power’s announcement that he needs to look at better ways to control the internet. The man is an idiot if he thinks that is ever going to happen, unless of course he is following the advice of anti-democratic assholes in Beijing.

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