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Another dumb court suppression decision

  • May 25th, 2010

Top Public Servant Acquitted of Punching Son – another inexcusable intrusion on free speech and the principle that justice should be delivered in open courts, where we can form our own views about whether it is without fear or favour according to rank and connections.

This decision satisfies none of the excuses for leaving the country's insiders to know who was charged, and thankfully acquitted. If he had not been forced into looking abject to succeed the man acquitted should be out there celebrating publicly and proud of himself . He should have opposed name suppression himself.

All those likely to know the man well enough to affect his career and his life will know who he is. I know and I'm not even in the court lawyer gossip circle. Given who he is, the decision supports suspicion of the justice establishment looking after its own, in collusion with the Police. Those in power always like knowing things that outsiders don't and use their power symbolically to emphasize that they know things others can not even where the knowledge is out.

Open justice must be restored, from the time of charging.

There may be a few grounds for suppressing the name of people charged with crime:

a) a blameless victim asks for it in circumstances where revealing the name would add materially to the victims long term suffering;

b) as a temporary order to avoid material prejudice to the investigation and prosecution of another;

c) during the time to trial where it could lead to the person charged suffering irreversible harm that will not occur if the person is acquitted;

d) if national security demands suppression of it among other details of the case.

I feel ashamed that I will not publicly disclose who this acquitted man is, to help make unworkable the continuation of this offense to our liberties. I'll not put myself and my license to be a lawyer at risk .  Many heroes who secured our liberties did risk all to get free speech and open justice.

But there is something I can do. Whale Oil is standing up for the principle. Despite often finding his language and expression gratuitously unpleasant, I can help make the point by reducing his personal cost of standing up for the rest of us.  We who are too careful can salve our consciences with contributions. If we make it plain that fines and other penalties will just attract mass support, eventually our would-be masters will have to accept the loss of their current power to suppress.

I'll find out the account we can contribute to and provide the link for others who want to contribute.

Comments

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[…] StephenFranks.co.nz » Blog Archive » Another reticent justice … […]

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I agree wholeheartedly Stephen. Like you, I cannot compromise my business by knowingly breaking the law, but I am more than happy to make a contribution to assist Cam. If you can e-mail account details to me at inventory2@gmail.com, I will also post them on Keeping Stock.
The law regarding name suppression is indeed an ass, and that has been clearly illustrated by the case of the High-Profile Public Servant.

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  • KG
  • May 25th, 2010
  • 6:30 pm

Crusader Rabbit will post the details of any defence fund on the sidebar.

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[…] granted to the top Wellington “public servant” who was acquitted of assaulting his son. Stephen Franks also calls it an inexcusable intrusion on free speech and the principle of open […]

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  • John MacCormick
  • May 25th, 2010
  • 8:58 pm

Thanks for the post Stephen.  I totally agree, and knowing who the individual is, I too think there is no reason in justice for his name to remain a secret only known to public sector/justice system insiders.  I'll contribute.

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I've spoken to Gregory Thwaite, Whale Oil's lawyer. He'll arrange an account . I'll post it as soon as I know.

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  • ross
  • May 25th, 2010
  • 11:27 pm

I see that in the UK, the new government has indicated that the names of those accused of rape will have their names suppressed. I agree with that measure. An accused is, after all, presumed innocent. There is no good reason why an accused should have their name published.
Where is the intrusion into free speech? You have written an article about the case and can discuss the facts of the case. It seems your right to free speech has not been interefered with in any shape or form. Your idea of free speech and mine are somewhat different it seems.

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  • Cactus Kate
  • May 26th, 2010
  • 4:43 am

Stephen

Great to see you’ve contacted WO’s lawyer.

I’m sure a loan of your vast intellect to assist in the defence with Gregory Thwaite would possibly be just as useful as any cash donation. Thwaite’s a gruff bastard who ironically doesn’t actually read the internet.

[…] StephenFranks.co.nz » Blog Archive » Another dumb court … […]

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Well said Stephen.

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