Name supression and the musician

Tomorrow in Wellington is the R v the Internet seminar at Te Papa. The final programme is online, and I think there is a great lineup of speakers – and attendees.

The timing for the seminar has been very good, both with the release of the Law Commission’s recommendations (which is not a coincidence as it was timed to be just after that) but also the publicity around for the musician, which had even the Prime Minister asked at a press conference if he knew the name.

Incidentally with regards to that case, some commenters were of the view that the entertainer did nothing wrong, as the complainant went into the alleyway. This Sunday News article provides the victim’s perspective:

THE family of the teenage girl attacked by a prominent entertainer have broken their silence branding the incident “animalistic” and his permanent name suppression “totally disgusting”.

Victim Brittany Cancian last night described the musician as a “disgusting, self righteous pig”.

The 17-year-old was with friends in central Wellington on March 5 when two of her friends were led away with the drunken man around 3.30am.

Brittany’s mother Racheal, of Lower Hutt, said her “caring” daughter was attacked by the man while checking on her friends.

“I think he’s an animal, when I heard what he had done I thought it was animalistic. He wasn’t at all gentle about it,” Racheal said.

“What happened has absolutely been downplayed. She never followed him down the alleyway she went to see that her friends, who had followed him, were okay.

So this was not a girl going down an alley wanting to kiss him.

“She has quite a caring heart and she wanted to check on her mates and when she went around the corner he grabbed her.”

Auckland District Court heard earlier this month how the famous entertainer asked Brittany and her friends to “kiss my balls” before he grabbed the teenager’s head and pulled it towards his crotch.

His genitals brushed across Brittany’s face. The man admitted a charge of inducing an indecent act but was discharged without conviction by Judge Eddie Paul. He was given permanent name suppression because naming him would affect his record and concert ticket sales.

I think he got off lightly.

Racheal said police never asked her or Brittany if they wanted the man’s name suppression application opposed.

Court documents reveal police maintained a “neutral” position on the matter.

It is unfortunate the victim was not given a say. I sometimes wonder whether victims should be given their own counsel in court cases – to represent their interests.

Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer said if recommendations in the report had been adopted by Government prior to the musician’s court appearance, he “certainly would not” have received suppression.

“He would have to show extreme hardship and that is very difficult to do … that is hardship out of the ordinary, not ordinary hardship and that is a much higher threshold than the law currently provides.”

“We all have to have a quality before the law. The person who is a grave digger has to be treated the same as a person who is an All Black.”

On this issue I very much agree with Sir Geoffrey.

Comments (55)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment

%d bloggers like this: