On suppression

There’s been quite a few comments on suppression lately, most trying to compromise this site, but some seem to not understand how suppression works.

This is as far as I understand it.

Courts can order name suppression up to blanket case suppression.

With name suppresssion you can publish details of a case as long as you don’t name or identify the persion with suppression.

With blanket suppression you are unable to publish any details of the case or name or identify anyone involved in the case realtive to the case.

But this shouldn’t stop you publishing about things that are unrelated to cases.

For example if John Key was involved in a case in the 90s and was granted permanent name suppression that doesn’t mean you can’t name him in political stories and commentary now.

Most people are completely unaware of suppressions that are in place so we have the strange situation where you are supposed to avoid publishing on things you don’t know about.

I think all regulars here are well aware of the responsibilities on suppression and are appropriately prudent.

When you get a new name show up posting a potentially actionable comment and then disappearing it’s kinda obvious that the intent is malicious.

PLEASE NOTE: if you want to discuss suppression in general terms then go ahead. But don’t mention any names or details about any cases that you know or think could be subject to suppression.

If anyone comments here and compromises this site by deliberately breaching any court ordered suppression then you will be held responsible for your actions.

Leave a comment


  1. kittycatkin

     /  24th November 2015



  2. Clemgeopin

     /  24th November 2015

    “For example if John Key was involved in a case in the 90s and was granted permanent name suppression…”

    ??! 90s? Interesting!

  3. unitedtribes2

     /  24th November 2015

    So Pete, If there are any relevant suppression rulings that I should know about would you let us know please. I don’t actually follow the nutters that keep suing each other these days.

  4. Missy

     /  24th November 2015

    I think Unitedtribes2 brings up an interesting point – how does a person stand legally (and the blog owner) if something is mentioned that is subject to a suppression order that the commenter (or blog owner) is unaware of. So using a similar example to the one Pete used in his post, what if we were aware of something that Andrew Little had done 10-15 years ago, but weren’t aware it was subject to a suppression order, and commented about it and inadvertantly break suppression, is ignorance a valid defence in this case (I know in general ignorance of the law isn’t considered a valid defence). I would imagine the internet makes policing suppression more difficult, and easier for people to break suppression orders. I am not a lawyer, so am genuinely interested in this.

    • It’s quite tricky now.

      In the old days a court reporter woukld sit through a hearing or trial and hear exactly what the judge ruled if he ordered suppression. So the reporter would know exactly what they could and couldn’t write.

      Now there isn’t a reporter or two, their are thousands of people who can publish information.

      And there’s a chain issue. Say Stuff publishes a court report involving suppression. Then a blogger takes bits of it and adds bits to it. And someone on Facebook. And a dozen people on Twitter. Then someone gets bits of several of those and adds something they had heard and puts it on Reddit. Etc.

      • Jeeves

         /  26th November 2015

        I guess you have a responsibility not to just rant off about a court case in a very public forum- ie -publish your views for the world to see – UNLESS – you at least take a precautionary and cursory investigation into whether you are within your rights to do so or not.

        I strongly advise everyone to add http://www.nzlii.org to your daily blog round. The home page had the most recent court decisions posted afresh everyday. This is where mainstream journos find their news, and as you open each new decision- it is very obvious if and what the suppression orders disallow.

        Please go there and have a look around- if you have an interest in the carriage of law- its a fantastic resource- you will be all the wiser for it.

  5. oldmantalking

     /  24th November 2015

    So there is not much we can say about LF then, apparently every man and his dog, and a lady I know, either has an ongoing legal battle with them, or is about to.

  6. kittycatkin

     /  24th November 2015

    I see nothing wrong with name suppression until a case is over, as nobody who’s accused of something they haven’t done would not mind their name being made public. If they are found guilty, that’s quite different. My late husband was once accused of fraud, although it was cleared up before it was made into a charge-it would be too boring to go into details but basically he had supposedly claimed money from two sources and been paid twice. He hadn’t and was able to prove it.As he was quite well known in the community, it would have made the papers, I suspect had it gone further.

    • jamie

       /  26th November 2015

      Yes kitty, I think as a general rule names of the accused should be suppressed and names of the guilty should be made public.

      The only obvious exception to me is if the victims request the offenders name is suppressed, or if the victim is a child and it is deemed to be in the interest of the child that the offender’s name s suppressed.

      But this ‘suppression to protect the offender’s reputation’ stuff is for the birds. Probably the one thing I agree strongly with Cam Slater about. (Of course he ruined his argument by riding roughshod over the interests of children, but hey just because he’s right about something doesn’t mean he isn’t still an idiot.)

  7. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  24th November 2015

    If you live long enough and keep your ears flapping, you are bound to hear details of cases that have suppression orders over them. Sometimes you even learn the name of offenders who have name suppression.
    My problem, as I descend into my twilight years, is that I no longer recall when, how and through whom, I acquired such knowledge.


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