Sunday Suppression Round Up

Plenty to talk about on Name Suppression from the blogs and MSM today.

Kerre Woodham gives it to the Police and the Judiciary in her HoS column:

Why is the Crown not appealing the name suppression of the “prominent Manawatu businessman” who was sentenced this week for downloading and sharing pornographic images – many of them images of young girls?

What is it about this man that makes him so special? Judge Grant Fraser granted permanent name suppression to protect the man’s family, his mental state, his wife’s job and his ability to rehabilitate.

So what? Every crim has to put up with the fact that his or her family is shamed by their wrongdoing. What makes this man different?

Judge Fraser also granted suppression on the grounds the images weren’t of New Zealand children – like vulnerable, exploited children overseas don’t matter, Judge Fraser?

Rosemary McLeod in the SST shows how hopelessly inadequate consistency is with Name Suppression especially from Judge Grant Fraser:

The Crown won’t be appealing against Judge Grant Fraser’s decision to give permanent name suppression to the Manawatu man. The man was charged with 25 counts of possessing objectionable material, and one of distributing pornographic images on the internet, following an FBI investigation. He got four months’ home detention, which I expect you could easily serve without anyone noticing. Judge Fraser said he granted suppression to protect the man’s family, his mental state, his wife’s job, and his ability to rehabilitate. If I were in his social orbit, and had vulnerable young girls to care for, I think I might feel rather differently about that. I’d want to know he posed a risk, and be able to avoid him.

But there’s more to this, as an editorial in the Dominion Post newspaper pointed out last week. The same judge showed less understanding to a 25-year-old man who appeared in his court last December on charges of possessing objectionable images and film of naked children, some of them babies, in sexual acts.

Judge Fraser told that offender that possession of the material “invites the abuse and exploitation of children, who are defenseless, for the gratification of you and other like-minded people”. That particular offender suffers from Asperger’s and Kallmann syndromes, which in general terms might mean a lack of empathy coupled with potential sexual peculiarities. He did not get name suppression.

The Manawatu man, by contrast, did not submit that he suffered from any impairment, and the judge’s observations surely applied to him equally. But it’s another comment by the judge that I find troubling: that publicity was not required in his case because none of the offensive images were of New Zealanders.

Setting aside how he could possibly know that for sure, isn’t it enough that vile images were spread of any women and young children, whatever their ethnicity, and wherever they might be? They were images of real people; that is their charm for people who enjoy such cruelty.

The more you look into suppression orders and how they are carried out by Judges the more alarmed one should be by judicial meddling and extension of a really rather simple law. The Judges are simply using their discretion or should I say abusing their discretion. Often there is no rhyme or reason for their decisions and it definitely helps if are one of the protected, a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, a celebrity or indeed a judge.

Jonathan Marshall looks at how court secrecy is actually putting people at risk in the interests of protecting the rights of the criminal.

New Zealand’s name suppression laws are under fresh scrutiny, with two recent cases revealing the difficulties authorities such as police or schools face if they wish to protect the public from harm.

Last week, the Sunday Star-Times reported that a top Auckland primary school was unable to inform parents that one of its teachers had been accused of sex crimes against boys, as the man had interim name suppression.

Now, court documents show police were hindered by the name suppression granted to a man who was last year convicted of intentionally injecting his wife with HIV-infected blood.

The man was last month sentenced to eight years’ jail for the crime, but the Star-Times has learnt the man also had unprotected sex with a number of other women before his arrest. Police wanted to inform the women of the man’s offending and his HIV status to encourage them to seek HIV tests but were unable to do so because he had name suppression.

This is exactly what I was saying about the pedo teacher. People are at risk, same with the Olympian.

Another controversial suppression involving HIV occurred in the case of bisexual man Glenn Mills, a train driver who killed himself in November while awaiting trial on charges of deliberately infecting 14 individuals with HIV.

When Mills was charged, he was granted name suppression which continued until police and media asked the court to consider lifting the order in the interests of public safety ? so potential infected victims could be tested.

Within minutes of Mills’ name being made public, Body Positive, New Zealand’s HIV-positive support organisation, received 15 calls from concerned partners.

Molestation is bad enough but suppressing the names of HIV positive people who are charged with deliberately infecting their sexual partners is in effect giving those other people a death sentence.

The Law Commission chimed in and showed us why we should toss their recommendations in the dustbin:

The recent Law Commission review of suppression laws considered a range of concerns but does not address the growing concerns of organisations such as police or schools hamstrung by judges’ orders.

“We were concerned about the jurisdiction of the judge to make orders and the provision of how far those orders go. We didn’t really look at how the orders affect necessary communication between agencies,” Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer told the Star-Times.

As I have said the Law Commission recommendations were written from the view point of vested interests. Sir Geoffry Palmer, a meddler at the best of times proves just how inept the Commission recommendations are with his silly statement that they only thought about the judges and not the flow on effect. In effect Palmer is admitting that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

“FIGJAM” Power is no better:

Justice Minister Simon Power said difficulties with inter-agency communication were “part of the jigsaw” that the suppression issue has created, “and we need to work our way through that”.

Wrong FIGJAM, all of the jigsaw should be tossed and have one very simple law that takes away judges discretion and at the same time removes suppression for but the cases with extreme extenuating circumstances. Simon “FIGJAM” Power demonstrates how once capable individuals can become captured by their official. That is two silly statements in as many days, and from the person who would be prime minister if only he had some friends.