Selective charges over “NZ’s Rolf Harris” name suppression breaches


via SST

A New Zealand woman living in Australia is facing charges in relation to posting information online allegedly naming a prominent New Zealander who has name suppression.

The 34-year-old woman is charged with two counts of breach of suppression provisions and orders. A warrant to arrest was issued by Christchurch District Court yesterday.

A former National MP has already appeared in Waitakere District Court in relation to alleged breaches of the same court order.

Police said a man was formally warned by Whangarei Police in relation to alleged breaches.

Interesting that NZ Police are charging a New Zealander living in Australia for breaching a NZ protection order online while living in Australia.  That’s going to be an interesting test case to watch.

The former National MP is going to be a no brainer.  It was deliberate.  And as I discovered, the law tends to be humourless when it comes to people mocking it on purpose.

What I find interesting that I am aware of two other clear breaches.  One was on Twitter a good month before the National MP, and the other was done on a New Zealand blog.   The latter is still out in the open, as far as I know.

Strange how some of these have led to Police acting, and others have not.

Somewhat perversely, some people are facing huge fines up to $100,000 per count, and even possible jail terms for simply writing “NZ’s Rolf Harris'” name on the Internet, while “Rolf” has permanent name suppression for pleading guilty to a sexual assault.


– Sophie Ryan, NZME



THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • RightofSingapore

    But she did the naming in Australia did she not? How can she be charged in NZ for something she didn’t even do in NZ, no crime was committed in NZ.

    • Carl

      That’s what I thought as there is an Australian journalist that has named this guy with no problems.

      • Dumrse

        Perhaps she is an NZ citizen and the other is not.

        • peterwn

          That is the whole point. If you are a NZ citizen or even a legal resident, you must abide by NZ law. The USA has taken this further and require its ex-pat citizens to pay USA tax on their world wide earnings.

          • RightofSingapore

            But the “crime” wasn’t committed in NZ, how does NZ even have jurisdiction over something that happens in Australia?

        • Spiker

          The well known publisher of Rolfs name is also NZ born, therefore a citizen.

          • Dumrse

            I understand all of that however if you read closely you will see Carl talks of an Aussie journalist.

    • Champagneshane

      What triggered this was her conduct outside of New Zealand causing the occurrence of a relevant event within New Zealand and therefore an “act” will have been considered to have occured in New Zealand for the purpose of jurisdiction. So she wrote whatever she wrote in Australia but it was exported to New Zealand via the internet which is all part of the offence. But the issue is how to get her back to face the charges. I’m not sure if the system would go as far as cancelling her passport or issusing extradition proceedings but when one goes around poking contempt at our courts then you can expect an appropiate response. You will be surprised at the court’s extensive inherent powers when it comes to this sort of behaviour. We all have our opinions about the court’s decisions but overriding all of this is the rule of law, the principle that law governs a nation and all its citizens abide by it including the law makers themselves. Without it you start to get a breakdown of society together with all its democratic principles.

      • Peter Jenkins

        The Rule of Law is important – but in order for it to work it must have the consent and respect of the public. Name suppression in cases like this undermines that

      • disqus_DU7T1pNtzv

        I can’t comment on her motivation for publishing the offenders name but could it be suggested that the democratic process is strengthened when ordinary citizens stand up against unjust or silly laws and are willing to suffer the consequences. Activism doesn’t need to be left solely be the domain of the unions or judiciary.

        • Champagneshane

          Indeed, l undrstand your sentiments but it must be within the law. The democratic process will change the law if there is enough weight from society behind it. It is how many laws are changed and admended

    • Peter Jenkins

      I think the key point with this is if she named him on her own website and if that site is hosted here in NZ and/or the domain name registered here in NZ. If she named him on an NZ hosted/registered site not owned or managed by herself (such as Trade Me) then they share responsibility for removing the offending material and would have been named in the proceedings

      Of course if she heads out of Australia for somewhere like Uzbekizstan or Uruguay then it becomes irrelevant. Extradition from Australia will be hard enough.

      I see the scum has also been named on another forum I frequent. The whole thing is farcical and just demonstrates what a bad idea name suppression is when the victim doesnt want it

  • Frosty78

    All this going on while most NZers know who this guy is anyway!

  • Popliteal

    Do they have a givealittle page? I feel the need to donate.

  • Sally

    So why have no charges been laid against the other two offenders? Is because their audience is so small and irrelevant that they flew under the radar.

  • caochladh

    Perhaps its time someone took the blindfold off Justice, just for a few moments so she can see all the dud judges we have in this country.

  • Teletubby

    I would love to see those charged pull out that the “public interest” defence that works so well with publishing other private information such as hacked emails. Surely it can be argued that due to this persons so called stature in the community people accord him a level of trust which they would not if they knew the truth, and therefore the suppression is potentially enabling further offending hence it is in the public interest to breach said suppression. The same applies to any other offending that has already taken place, if it were known victims may find the necessary courage to come forward in difficult circumstances

  • Captain Darling

    Surely half the country must know who he is by now, suppression is a bit of a joke in this age of internet and social media. Anyone with links to the media can easily get his name.

    • mike

      Don’t need links to the media. Just need Google.

  • It’s odd that the Herald refuses to name Tau Henare, when he did not seek name suppression. Stuff was happy to name him after his court appearance, and Tau certainly isn’t trying to hide behind anything.