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More court secrecy

  • September 22nd, 2009

Who do the courts think they are protecting when they suppress the names of a former MP (or indeed anyone) charged with fraud?

If the big name suppressed has anyone worth calling friend or family, they’ll be told by the accused anyway. If the courts think they are protecting the big name from neighbours or others they know , surely it merely delays the inevitable. Those who know them are the only ones whose opinion can really affect the fallen big-shot for the short period before the news either leaks or it must come out anyway.

If it is only  the rest of us who are to remain in the dark, what benefit does that provide that can be weighed against the damage done by these gags to public confidence in equal justice and in the courts.

And for how long will Winkelman J’s secret decision in the Tuhoe terrrorist case remain secret since Vince Siemer’s posting of it, as reported by Jock Anderson in NBR’s subscriber only section?



[…] A secret decision in the Tuhoe Terrorist Trial Why? There was wall-to-wall media coverage of the raids. Shouldn’t we at least know why a whole decision is secret? […]

  • Mike Mckee
  • September 28th, 2009
  • 12:50 pm

I agree Stephen.
My feeling is once it’s in court there should be no name suppression at all.

It is so easy to live a secret life and the old fashioned shame for your crimes has been diluted.

For some crimes like kiddie fiddling many people would prefer an internet register like some states in the USA.


The affront to freedom of expression that these suppression orders achieve is not acceptable. Justice must be transparent to society; the public have a right to seek and receive such information and suppression orders unjustly restrict that right when the reason is so uncompelling.

If someone’s safety or property was in real risk if their name as an accused became public then perhaps, for the duration of the trial or the danger, it might be justifiable but on judgment the decision should be revisited.

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