Name suppression law hides culprits and silences victims



28 June 2023 


Name suppression law hides culprits and silences victims 

The applications for name suppression in two separate cases by two prominent men over the past 24 hours, one successful and one unsuccessful, highlight the capricious nature of name suppression law. Allowing culprits to go unnamed and victims unable to name the perpetrators is an injustice and abuse of their speech rights, says Jonathan Ayling, chief executive of the Free Speech Union.    

"The Supreme Court's decision to name Sir Jim Wallace as the prominent businessman convicted of sexually abusing three men (albeit five years after the conviction) finally means his victims can tell the whole story. The right for an individual to speak freely about crimes committed against them and name those convicted is core to natural justice.  

"Yet, the decision of the Wellington District Court yesterday seems inconsistent with today's ruling from the Supreme Court. A man (once part of a high-profile government-funded group) convicted of making, possessing, and distributing child pornography will have his name permanently suppressed. 

"These two inconsistent decisions highlight the unpredictable application of name suppression law, which seems to come down to the luck of the judicial draw and the prominence of the individuals involved. Last year, a man, who had previously been the chair of both a significant core public service outfit and a major local government asset, also received name suppression after performing a sexual act in a neighbour's house while the occupants were at work.

"Facing public scorn for breaking the law is a legitimate consequence of offending. Prohibiting this is an abuse of the speech rights of the victims and all law-abiding citizens. In cases where the victims of crime do not which to be publically associated with the perpetrators, then name suppression is understandable. Yet, protecting the reputations of convicted offenders by silencing victims is manifestly unjust and must be amended." 


Media Contact- Jonathan Ayling 021 842 215, or [email protected] 

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    published this page in Media releases 2023-10-06 11:33:28 +1300

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