Name suppression the wrong decision

The Herald reports:

A young man has been granted permanent after admitting he assaulted two people at a drunken Labour Party youth summer camp.

And in what may be a precedent setting decision, the Court of Appeal said it did so to protect him from a social media “mob” intent on “cancel culture” and internet vigilantism.

The 22-year-old has not been identified since the criminal case was sparked when sexual allegations emerged from the Labour event near Waihi in February 2018.

Midway through a trial last year in the Auckland District Court, however, a plea deal was reached with prosecutors after a jury was asked to consider five charges of indecent assault, relating to two men and two women.

The man ultimately pleaded guilty to two amended charges of assault for the allegations against the two men, and the charges against the two women were withdrawn and dismissed.

He was discharged without conviction but declined permanent name suppression in the District Court, leading to a series of appeals.

Today, the Court of Appeal released its decision granting the man permanent suppression and overturning an earlier High Court decision.

In their judgment, Justice Murray Gilbert, Justice Rebecca Ellis and Justice Sarah Katz took aim at social media and the harm “likely to be inflicted” on the man by its users.

I think this is the wrong decision. If you plead guilty, you should be named.

The fact this was such a politically charged case means there were all sorts of speculation about the young man being connected or related to various Labour Ministers. If he had been named, then it would have shown the speculation was incorrect.

After the sentencing, one of the victims spoke to Newstalk ZB and said the case had became a “political football”.

Both victims and the Crown were against suppression for the man.

The victims are the, well, victims – not the person who assaulted them.

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