The Herald reports:
A complaint has been lodged with police against a former politician who tweeted the name of a prominent Otago man who has permanent name suppression.
The man’s lawyer, Jonathan Eaton, QC, confirmed to the Otago Daily Times a “formal complaint was lodged with the NZ police last evening”.
That complaint related to a tweet by a former politician who named the man on Twitter.
The Herald have not named the former politician. It is not hard to guess though. I’m interested in where liability may lie if you do name the former politician who tweeted. Think through these scenarios.
- If I retweeted the tweet naming the prominent Otago man, then that would very likely mean I breached the supression order also
- If I did not retweet it, but provided a link on my blog to the tweet, would that make me liable? Probably.
- What if I do not link to the specific tweet, but did link to the twitter account. Would I be liable? Less clear cut.
- And what if I named the former politician who tweeted, but did not link to his twitter account. Is simply naming him something that could make me liable? I would hope not, but like the Herald won’t risk it.
The former politician still has the tweets up, and has repeated the name in a subsequent tweet, so I don’t think he cares if he gets prosecuted. Hard to imagine he won’t be, as the breach is deliberate and sustained. I have sympathy for what he did as I think name suppression should not have been granted, but think it is unwise for anyone to deliberately breach a legal order.
Any commenter who names (or hints at identity) of the tweeter (or the supressed) will get a strike.