Oh dear, The bloody courts have done it again.
The name of the son of a New Zealand rich-lister is being kept secret – for now, at least.
Alf can understand his concern for anonymity because he has been accused of punching a female police officer in the face.
This is not chivalrous behaviour in Alf’s circles, although it must be said it might be acceptable behaviour, and even laudable, among the scions of rich-listers.
But the cop has cause to be aggrieved.
According to this report:
The police officer suffered a black eye, serious swelling to her face and needed hospital treatment.
The man has been charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, assaulting a security guard and damaging a window during an incident outside the popular Dunedin student haunt Shooters Bar back in March.
It seems nobody took much notice of his identify down in Dunedin,
He appeared in Dunedin District Court four times, without seeking name suppression, before the case was transferred to Auckland District Court.
But after questions from the Herald on Sunday, the man’s lawyers filed an application for interim name suppression.
On Tuesday, Judge Anne Kiernan ordered that the man’s name be kept secret for the next three weeks.
Details around that hearing have also been suppressed, but it can be reported that Judge Kiernan found publishing his name could prejudice his right to a fair trial.
The Herald on Sunday says it “gained access” to court documents, which allege the man had been involved in a drunken fight with a friend.
Alf suspects this means the newspaper was alerted to the case, asked to look at the public documents, and was allowed to do so.
If it hadn’t alerted the young man’s lawyers to their interest in the case it may well be the name was not suppressed.
But the newspaper has given us an idea of what happend:
It is alleged about 11pm on the night, the man “became enraged by a derogatory comment” a friend made about his girlfriend.
“This led to the defendant punching a hole in a security window at the bar,” the summary of facts contends.
The man then allegedly had a heated verbal argument with his girlfriend and Otago University campus security were alerted.
When the security guard intervened, the man allegedly punched him in the face. The security guard slipped and fell to his knees and he was allegedly kneed in the face.
The security officer suffered bruising, swelling and tenderness to his left eye and a cut to the elbow.
The man was eventually restrained on the ground when a passing police patrol stopped to intervene.
The summary of facts alleges the man, “who was struggling violently”, then punched the female police officer in the face.
When he realised he had punched a police officer, he allegedly yelled “get off me cop”.
He then allegedly punched the officer in the face three or four times, the summary of facts alleges.
After being handcuffed, the man allegedly continued to struggle violently with police and attempted to head butt the officers as well as kicking out at them.
These are allegations, of course, but if true they paint an unseemly picture of a bloke who is seriously lacking in social graces.
Maybe these graces are not drilled into the scions of rich-listers nowadays.
Anyway, he will reappear in court next month when he is expected to enter a plea.
A case to continue his name suppression will then be considered.
The Herald on Sunday makes a good point in reminding us that:
Previous controversy around high-profile offenders prompted a 2010 Law Commission report in which the Government overhauled the rules for suppressing names and evidence.
It found there is no grounds for suppression based solely on the fact a defendant is well known.
But what does a suppression order mean nowadays?
Alf observes that the man accused of killing Blessie Gotingco has been found guilty of her rape and murder.
Justice Brewer lifted name suppression immediately following the verdicts, after saying he’d given “considerable thought” to the matter.
But the accused’s lawyer filed an immediate appeal of the suppression.
While a suppression appeal is underway, media cannot publish his name.
But they are publishing his picture.
What sort of suppression order forbids publication of a name but allows publication of a picture?