Breach of interim injunction?

The Sunday Star Times (and Stuff) may have at least come close to breaching an interim injunction, and if covered by the injunction commenters on a major New Zealand blog have fairly blatantly breached it, and has so far the blog has taken no action about it. Tony Wall wrote:

A Cabinet minister’s brother is due to appear in court this week on child indecency charges.

The man has been summonsed to appear in the District Court on Tuesday — but the man’s lawyer, high-powered Queen’s Counsel Jonathan Eaton, last night went to the High Court in Christchurch to obtain an injunction stopping the Sunday Star-Times naming the man or the minister concerned.

Last night, High Court Justice David Gendall imposed an interim injunction preventing the newspaper naming the accused and the Cabinet minister.

But the article gives enough details to make it quite easy to narrow down possibilities.

And commenters on a major New Zealand blog have fairly openly and blatantly identified the Minister. And site moderators have taken no action, despite the comments being prominent, and despite being advise of possible legal issues, and despite a moderator being active on the same post.

And despite that blog having clear policy against this behaviour.

If we and/or our lawyers feel that the the comment or post oversteps a legal bound, violates good taste, invades the privacy of people outside the public domain, or goes beyond the scope of our site – then and only then will we do something about it.

Most of the time the moderators will be harsher on offending content than any court in NZ is likely to be.

The breaches began about 8.30 am this morning and subsequent comments confirmed what was heavily hinted at.

If they have identified the Minister then it’s clearly defying the intent to prevent revealing the identity which sounds likely to be subject to a name suppression application.

And the blog management would appear to be allowing these breaches to remain on public view.

UPDATE: I’ve been advised by the blog that if they haven’t been advised of an injunction then they don’t have to stop speculation (but they are obviously aware of the injunction).

They also claim that speculation is fine as ling as it doesn’t explicitly name the people protected by the injunction (despite the collective comments clearly identifying someone).

And the claim that suppression orders “just stop people being named, not speculated on”.

That surprises me – it’s not how I understand that name suppression works, and I’m surprised this blogger is taking this position.

UPDATE2: This question has been asked on the blog:

The courts granted an injunction to prevent publication by the SST of the Minister’s name. Does that injunction apply to the public?

A response from the moderator:

Likely. As I have no idea who it is, So to conform to the reported suppression, I will just limit people saying explicitly which minister it is.

From a legal point of view that surprises me. Taken as a whole the blog thread clearly identifies the Minister.

Mind you, after the questions on how Carmel’s mothers name got into media, I am only inclined to follow the letter of suppression orders.

From a blog and political point of view that doesn’t surprise me.

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4 Comments

  1. its obvious from the Standard thread who it is alleged to be and hence from there who the name suppressed is…. appears if its a NAt or ACT target all is fair in love and war ….

    Reply
  2. You were advised that we have no particular responsibility to limit speculation. We will stop people saying that a particular person was the cabinet minister or that their brother is the subject of the charges. That is, as far as I am aware, all that the suppression order states.

    I’d take a bet that you have no further information on the suppression order yourself. It is a problem with the way that suppression orders are advised.

    That was advised to the commenters in the comment stream where the speculation went on, and has been conformed with. In this case the court managed to spread speculation over a very limited number of Cabinet Ministers and their brothers because they did not or (more likely) could not cover the publication of the profession of the Cabinet Minuster – which the SST published.

    Basically you are an lying arsehole who has no compunction in twisting words, be it emails, legal, or site policies. But what else do we expect from such an bullshitting illiterate…

    Reply
  3. traveller

     /  4th May 2015

    It surprises me that a man who considers himself a truthful non arsehole, non bullshitter and literate man by implication applies such a low threshhold to the claptrap that passes for commentary on his blog.

    When one gets past the whole legality issue what we’re left with is this. Is a middle-aged mature adult responsible for the alleged actions of his or her sibling. The only rational answer can be no. The day that thestandard.org ever posts in a considered and rational manner when it comes to matters National will be the one when hell freezes over.

    Reply
  1. Prentice ignores lawyer advice on suppression | Your NZ

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