It has been reported over the last couple of days that ex-National MP Tau Henare named a sex offender whose identity is supposedly protected by name suppression.
Media didn’t name Henare but in reporting the breach they provided enough information to make it very simple to find out who the ex-MP was, and what he said – as of now this can still easily be found.
A retired National Party politician has named a prominent New Zealander who escaped conviction over a sexual charge in Central Otago.
I won’t link to that report so if you are one of the few people who don’t know about this it might take a few seconds longer to find out.
A complaint has been lodged with the police over the breach. In a follow up Stuff report:
A complaint has been lodged with police against a former MP who published the name of a prominent Central Otago man with permanent name suppression.
The man’s lawyer, Jonathan Eaton QC, confirmed a formal complaint was made last night in relation to the comments on social media.
“The breach certainly appears to be quite deliberate and I would expect the police to treat the matter seriously,” he said.
After naming the man, the former National MP wrote online: “I’ll cop whatever comes. Lol may even apply for name suppression haha.”
Henare’s identity has been widely circulated in social media so there are many ways to have been exposed to a dirty secret that hasn’t been so secret for months.
But one of a number of ridiculous things about this is the identity of the offender has been widely circulated in social media already.
A New Zealand blog has openly disclosed details for about a month.
It was originally exposed on an Australian blog in July and has been highlighted (without revealing the actual name) by ex-Act leader Rodney Hide a number of times in Herald columns.
A candidate had a blog post openly revealing the identity during the recent election campaign. That was easily findable via Google – as it seems to have been removed now I can name the candidate, Steve Taylor. He stood for the Conservative Party against David Cunliffe in New Lynn.
So why has a complaint been lodged against Henare? He was open and blatant about it but he’s far from the first, and he’s saying in public what many people already know.
Instead of making a complaint against Henare the offender would do far more good for himself by fronting up and admitting what he did was sleazy and wrong – he as already admitted it in court but that is suppressed with his name.
Since this became public knowledge in July the offender has tried to downplay and make excuses for his actions, and claim he has been victim.
It might be a bit unfair that his case has been highlighted when other sex offenders successfully hide behind name suppression – but it’s far more unfair on women and children (and men) who are abused and the abusers escape having to publicly account for their actions.
The best way to limit the damage would be for this offender to front up, but this sort of offender is often gutless when the power is not in their hands.
Henare broke the law – along with others – but it seems ludicrous that his offence be singled out for police action.
In this case the victim doesn’t want to be protected by name suppression – she had to go to court to be able to reveal her own identity – Louise Hemsley. She has appeared on TV talking about the case.
@tauhenare is charged, I reckon I’d have fun defending him :-)
Graeme didn’t say why, but the identity having already been breached and the ease with which anyone can find out come to mind as possible defences.
Henare has taken a calculated risk. In this case the law is an ass.
And the offender is also an ass if he tries to pursue this via the police. All he is doing is attracting more negative publicity.
He is defending the indefensible – his sleazy behaviour. The sleaziness doesn’t diminish by trying to hide – it just keeps looking worse.