Alf expected the Whale to be thrashing around in high dudgeon this morning, over the continued name suppression enjoyed by an Auckland bloke. He was not disappointed and refers his constituents to an item headed Smarty Devil in Disguise still afraid of his own name.
The Smarty Devil in question is described in the Herald as a high-profile household name but the newspaper goes no further in identifying him because the bloody judge has granted continued suppression of name.
His occupation may not be published, either.
But according to the Herald’s understanding, the bloke was arrested after an argument with his wife during which he jumped on the bonnet of their car in central Auckland.
Jumping on the bonnet of a car is not among the more heinous offences in this country and anyone caught doing it need not feel too ashamed. Indeed, Alf would be quite chuffed, were he known as someone who can jump on the bonnet of a car, because it is widely speculated among his constituents that he is not frisky enough nowadays to be able to perform such a feat.
Alf accordingly would demand that his name be published in such circumstances.
This bloke in Auckland is much more coy about his bonnet-jumping accomplishments.
While details of his arrest can now be revealed, his identity is still protected by a court order, and may remain permanently suppressed.
The only clue we have to the identify of this bloke is that he is 46 years old.
Inevitably, this small nugget is enough to trigger a guessing game by Auckland people who are curious about any carry-on involving celebrities.
This in turn has triggered denials by blokes aged around 46 who fancy they must be or should be high on the lists of anyone trying to guess the name of the guilty party if the guilty party is a high-profile household name.
TV stars Simon Dallow and John Campbell are among those who have gone public to say neither of them is the arrested man.
One thing going for the anonymous culprit is a sharp lawyer.
The 46-year-old man was to have appeared in the Auckland District Court today on a charge of disorderly behaviour.
But his lawyer had the case called a day early after the man was accepted into the police diversion scheme.
Because he has been granted diversion, his case has been excused and he did not have to appear in court.
He will retain name suppression until at least February 7, when arguments for and against keeping his identity a secret, including submissions from media organisations, will be presented to the court.
So what do we know?
The man was arrested on the morning of December 29 on Quay St in downtown Auckland.
A commotion was heard by nearby apartment residents.
And next thing (presumably) the cops came along and arrested him.
He appeared in court where he was granted name suppression, a decision that did not pass muster with Alf.
Significantly, the bloke’s workmates seem to know about his brush with the law.
A colleague of the man said he had returned to work after his arrest made headlines, but he looked stressed.
Great. We can go looking for a 46-year-old bloke who is is a household name and who is stressed.
Hopefully a proposed new law which Alf will be supporting may soon make it harder for people to keep their identitiess secret simply because they are or fancy that they are famous.
Justice Minister Simon Power released the Criminal Procedure Bill in October for public consultation.
He said the law would make it clear that “wealth, reputation or public awareness” were not factors in gaining name suppression.
Defendants would have to prove “extreme hardship” would result if their names were made public.
“Being famous is not a good enough reason to be granted name suppression,” he said.
Damned right. Public confidence in the justice system is seriously eroded when folk get the impression – as they do from cases like this – that we have one set of rules for wealthy or well known ratbags, and we have another set of rules for ratbags from the ranks of the hoipolloi.