Stalker case – surprise over job ‘secrecy’

Further to Questionable sentence and suppression after criminal harassment the ODT has followed up today with more on the attempt to keep the person convicted of criminal harassment and intentional damage a secret.

A public servant who subjected a Dunedin businessman to “a living hell” for two and a-half years has finally been named – but his occupation remains under wraps.

Jeremy Fraser Buis (39), appearing in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, was sentenced to 200 hours’ community work and ordered to pay the victim $15,000 after being found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to do grievous bodily harm and intentional damage, following a week-long, judge-alone trial last month.

The victim – Danny Pryde – voluntarily gave up his own name suppression yesterday and said he was “extremely surprised” Buis’ job was kept secret.

“I think that’s quite important for the public to know … his profession and I don’t know why they’d hold that back,” he said.

More than quite important, but there is some ‘Streisand effect’ in action because it has increased publicity and outrage.

Judge Paul Kellar gave no reasons for his decision, which was made after counsel Anne Stevens said publication of the job would cast aspersions on Buis’ colleagues.

Suppression hasn’t prevented aspersions being cast, in fact it has probably made it more likely.

University of Otago dean of law Prof Mark Henaghan said the situation was unusual and almost futile.

“Once the name is released, people can find out what he does,” he said.

It’s simple to find out, even without seeing or hearing it said all over the place (which is happening).

Police said he was released from court after sentencing through an “alternative exit”, rather than the public doors, to avoid conflict with the victim’s family.

“Avoidance of the media was not a consideration,” the spokesman said.

I don’t think that’s an issue. The suppression of Buis’ occupation is.

Mr Pryde, owner of Pryde Engineering, said he wanted to lift the lid on the ordeal which had permeated almost every area of his life.

“I’ve got a business to run and it’s extremely embarrassing trying to explain this to customers,” he said.

“I’m happy for them to read about it and sympathise if they feel the need to.”

Mr Pryde believed the sentence was light and described the $15,000 emotional-harm payment, which the court heard Buis had borrowed, as “dirty money”.

“I’d almost be prepared to give that away to charity. He tried to destroy my business and my marriage. [Money] doesn’t fix those things,” he said.

Danny is a good and innovative engineer. I don’t see them often now but Danny and his wife have always seemed to me to be very nice people. They, and no one, deserves to be treated this badly.

I think that continued suppression of Buis’ occupation is worse for his employer and his colleagues (or ex colleagues) than being open and up front about it.

NOTE: Nothing that reveals the occupation of Buis can be tolerated here.

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24 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 22, 2017

    This supression order can’t be allowed to stand and nor can he be allowed to continue in his employment. His superiors should have suspended him prior to the court case and fired him on conviction. Failure to do so should jeopardise their own jobs. This department needs a clean up.

    • I think that’s pretty much what has happened and is happening regarding his employment.

      I agree on suppression. It looks very bad as it is.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 22, 2017

        Ok, that at least is reassuring, PG.

        • Gezza

           /  April 22, 2017

          Didn’t take long.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  April 22, 2017

            His occupation could well be in the electoral roll. I suspect that if anyone was that interested, which I am not, it wouldn’t be too diffy to find out.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  April 22, 2017

              As is obvious from Traveller’s comment.

            • Missy

               /  April 23, 2017

              Occupation, not employer, and we already knew that he was a Government Employee, so electoral roll will be no help for anyone wanting to use it to find out which agency he works for.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  April 23, 2017

              It might, it would depend upon what he was and how specific he was about his occupation.

  2. It is a bad, bad look for State Services.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 22, 2017

      Not sure how much jurisdiction they have over this department, trav. It’s certainly a daming indictment of the department that they’ve tried to suppress it.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 22, 2017

        Sp b4 G gets there.

        • Gezza

           /  April 22, 2017

          I don’t do that pointing out typos thing so much anymore (apart from *its*) – not seeing I’d be one of the worst here these days. I mainly confine myself now to ruthlessly exploiting any ambiguities, Al.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 22, 2017

            That was an opportunity I wished to deny, G.

  3. Anonymous Coward

     /  April 22, 2017

    Suppression is being breached and left un-moderated on Stuff’s facebook page.

    • The same elsewhere on Facebook. It’s impossible to stop, but you’d think there would be attempts to tidy up after it has been noticed.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  April 22, 2017

        I don’t know why some people have things suppressed and others not. When it comes to crime, it’s almost as if accusation = guilt, and the person is not only named but shown on the news. One unlucky man in Hamilton was accused of trying to poison his wife, or ex-wife, I forget which, and not only had his name broadcast, but lost his job. He was acquitted, the charges were totally baseless,but the damage done to him & his life would never be put right. ,

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 22, 2017

    I wonder who was paying the defendant’s lawyer and whether she was really working for him or for the department.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 22, 2017

      … or the Union.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  April 22, 2017

        I’d be very surprised if a department coughed up that sort of money for a foregone conclusion.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  April 22, 2017

          Or the union-that really would be wishful thinking.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 22, 2017

            Not if you knew which one it is.

            • Brown

               /  April 23, 2017

              This talking in hushed tones about a non secret is laughable. An IT nitwit like me found out in 30 secs.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 23, 2017

              Yes. Another occasion in which the law is determined to prove itself an ass.

            • Perhaps not so much the law in this case but the judge who is perhaps a bit naive about how easy it is to find out things like that.

              Regardless of why I think the judge got this one wrong – it is in the public interest that the occupation of the offender is known.