Phil Kitchin at Stuff reports:
The Human Rights Commission plans to prosecute the Sensible Sentencing Trust for breaching a serial paedophile’s privacy.
It stems from the trust printing the man’s name and details of his offending on its website. The commission says this breaches his privacy because the trust does not mention that he has name suppression.
However, neither the paedophile nor the commission have been able to supply a court record to prove he has name suppression.
Which is rather important. I don’t think taking the paedophile’s word for it is a good idea.
In January, the present commission director, Robert Kee, wrote to the trust saying it had not ensured it was publishing accurate information when it put the paedophile’s convictions on its website.
Publishing the information without referring to “the fact there is a suppression order” breached the man’s privacy, Mr Kee said.
But three paragraphs later, Mr Kee said he agreed with a judge’s minute that said there is “no record on the file of a final suppression order” being made.
He said the sentencing judge’s written decision was missing, but he believed the Human Rights Review Tribunal “could find on the balance of probabilities that there was a suppression order”.
Balance of probabilities? Not good enough. If you can’t find one, there isn’t one.
On one side of the case is the taxpayer-funded Human Rights Commission, which includes the Office of Human Rights Proceedings and prosecutes cases under the Privacy Act.
On the other side is the Sensible Sentencing Trust, staffed by volunteers and funded by donations.
In the middle is the convicted paedophile, a 58-year-old Wellington man whose offending is alleged to have spanned 14 years.
He was jailed for a year in 1995 on five counts of committing indecent acts on two girls aged 10 and 14.
At the same trial he was acquitted of a further two charges of rape and four charges of indecent assault on young girls.
Twenty years earlier he was charged and acquitted in three separate rape trials.
He also has a conviction for careless driving causing death.
The man lost his job as a chief executive when members of his organisation learned of his sex offending. Documents obtained by The Dominion Post from members of the organisation said he had access to children in his work and had lied about being employed when he was in prison.
I know which side I am on. If this proceeds, I’ll be happy to solicit donations from readers for the Sensible Sentencing Trust on this issue. You don’t have to agree with everything the SST says or does to be appalled by this prosecution.