28 June 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
Media Contact- Jonathan Ayling 021 842 215, or [email protected]