Someone murdered someone, and you are not allowed to know anything about it

via RNZ

A High Court judge has taken the self-admitted “extraordinary step” to suppress details of a murder case, despite saying “the public has a right to know”.

The Herald can report that a man appeared at the High Court in Auckland today and entered a plea to a charge relating to a murder.

But due to a heavy suppression order made by Justice Timothy Brewer the Heraldcannot publish the name, charge to which the man entered a plea, and the particulars of the murder case.

After oral submissions by the man’s lawyer, Emma Priest, in favour of an application to suppress the “entire case”, Brewer said, “it would not be sufficient for me to take the extraordinary step of suppression”.

“Normally I would decline,” the judge said.

“The public have a right to know what the plea is, who has entered it, and to what charge.”

After a lengthy debate, Brewer read a report submitted to the court about Priest’s client.

The judge was then persuaded to take what he reiterated was an “extraordinary step” and suppress the case.

He added he did not want to “take the risk” of potential scenarios which might arise from publication of details of the case in the press.

The Crown did not oppose the suppression order.

The case will be heard before the court again next month.

The circumstances must be so unusual and present such a risk to the public that it is better we are kept in the dark.  That, of course, makes us want to know what on earth is going on.

If you take the Blessie Gotingco case as a benchmark, much of the gruesome detail of the crime was kept from the public before the accused made it to court, and while the court case was progressing.  It was thought the public’s distaste would… somehow… interfere with justice.

But in that case, we were allowed to know at least something.

In this case, nothing.

The Crown didn’t oppose suppression either.   It would appear the court doesn’t trust the media to deal with this  professionally.

I’m making a note to look back on this at some stage and see if justice carried out in secret was appropriate in this case.   At a minimum, the victim friends and family deserve the part where justice must be seen to be done.


– Sam Hurley, NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.