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Meanwhile, over at Whale HQ

By Steven | January 14, 2010

Mr Oil has an odd post calling attention to the discrepancy between the “liberal crim huggers” (does that include the people who support him, one wonders?) who point out that many name suppressions exist to protect victims, including one of the ones he’s alleged to have breached, and this case:

An Auckland methodist minister has been charged with a sex offence against a teenage youth.

Kenneth Smith appeared in Rotorua District Court this morning accused of indecently assaulting the 17-year-old boy at a motel on January 10.

Mr Oil’s point?

Sex Crime, victim, no name suppression… Now you can’t get more shameful than that and yet there isn’t any name suppression.

His post is headed “Why no victim protection in this case?”. There’s a simple answer. The victim’s name is in fact suppressed. It happens by operation of the law, automatically. The reason the papers can name the defendant is that this doesn’t reveal the identity of the victim. That’s completely different to a situation where the relationship between the defendant and the victim is already in the public domain… in those circumstances, naming the defendant would identify the victim.

I believe the liberal crim-huggers’ viewpoint is simply that sex victims’ identities should be protected (or perhaps that the laws providing such protection should be obeyed). It’s not inconsistent to decry a blogger who reveals a victim’s identity and have no problems with a story that doesn’t.

Topics: Name suppression | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Meanwhile, over at Whale HQ”

  1. mattb02 Says:
    January 18th, 2010 at 7:53 am

    If one’s reputation is important then name suppression is a significant reduction in the penalty for offenders. It seems to me name suppression should therefore come with a trade-off: additional jail time for a convicted offender. Otherwise the dominant strategy is to always ask for it.

  2. Steven Says:
    January 18th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Well, yes. But equally, if reputation is important, then the fact that some people will get an added hit through being shamed in the media suggests that they get a significant increase in their penalty.

    The reality is that only a tiny fraction of defendants ask for name suppression. The vast bulk don’t need it.

    And I’m guessing that the others are increasingly leery of seeking name suppression, given the feral reaction in the media and blogosphere.


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