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Saturday, 23 February 2019 02:17 am

Website breaches court name suppression

Aug 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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A NEW ZEALAND name-and-shame website has broken a family court name suppression order by allowing a comment containing the name to be posted.

The proprietor of the website was contacted by legal representatives late today, and eventually hid the comment from public view, but also stated the site’s owner may re-publish it.

A follow-up comment from post author ‘kiwi1960’ reads: “I have been contacted by a solicitor in Auckland wishing the comment naming the dude to be deleted.

“I will not do that, this is a name and shame site, and really, we need the publicity.

“If the lawyer wishes to take the matter further, then I look forward to the matter ending up in the media spotlight.”

The Crown Law Office says this is a criminal offence, but is a case for the police to deal with.

When contacted, Wellington Police communications manager Elizabeth Young said it was a matter for the courts.

The suppression order – issued by Judge Sarah Fleming in Auckland family court – gagged media from revealing details of the high-profile politician’s identity.

The order had stood for only a few days before the name was published online on Saturday.

New Zealand media law expert Steven Price says issues like this are likely to become increasingly common.

“The justice system is not well geared up to respond to these sorts of problems,” says Mr Price.

“It is usually the publisher who is made liable, that would include anyone disclosing information on a website.”

Ministry of Justice courts general manager Tony Fisher says there are penalties available to the court if a suppression order is broken.

“The Ministry of Justice and the judiciary take breaches of suppression by the media very seriously,” he says.

It remains unclear whether any legal action will be taken against the offending website.

NewsWire last year broke a story in which a Manukau district court web-suppression order was accidentally breached by both the New Zealand Herald and the Dominion Post, when they inadvertently published a suppressed name in their online digital editions.

After the offending editions were removed, and then updated, there was no further action on the breach.

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is is Niuean and has mastered the art of Talanoa, when translated means "talking long", deciding to put this talent to use she found her way to Whitireia Journalism School. Her interests are in things Pacific, Leadership and Mentoring. She hopes to rock the airwaves in the very near future.
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