Three people want name suppression lifted, two don’t

Three of the four people charged by the SFO over donations to the National party want their identities revealed. That means one doesn’t.

And the Labour youth camp assaulter wants his identity kept secret, although the judge has hinted that suppression may end after the election.

NZ Herald: National Party donations accused want suppression lifted

Three of four men facing Serious Fraud Office charges over two $100,000 donations to the National Party have applied for a judge to lift their name suppression.

The change of heart comes after the men brought an urgent application for suppression on January 31, just two days after the SFO filed charges against the group.

Judge Eddie Paul granted all four temporary secrecy and said in his judgment the hearing was rushed through after 5pm in the Auckland District Court after journalists indicated they would identify the accused in the next 24 hours.

“It seems to me the Criminal Procedure Act anticipates that there is some restraint exercised by the media until the first appearance so that the proper exercise of defendant’s rights can be exercised. Publication now would, in my view, abrogate those rights and that simply cannot be permitted.”

However, three of the men have today asked a judge to revoke the order, according to a public relations firm hired by the trio.

“Three of the four defendants appearing in court next week following a Serious Fraud Office investigation into National Party donations have applied to have the name suppression orders associated with the case lifted,” a statement by Pead PR reads.

“Legal counsel for the three defendants confirmed the application is before the Auckland District Court and is currently being considered by a judge.”

Obviously that leaves one still wanting to remain unidentified. One could presume that’s the one charged with supplying false information to the SFO but that’s not necessarily so.

The Labour youth camp assault is back in court over ongoing name suppression.

NZ Herald: Young man fights for secrecy in Labour Party summer camp scandal

A young man who pleaded guilty to assaulting two others at a drunken Labour Party summer camp argues his identity should be kept forever hidden.

The High Court judge considering the appeal has also contemplated suppressing his name until after this year’s general election as the case is kicked about like a political football.

Suppression dependant on an election is a bit concerning.

The now 22-year-old was discharged without conviction but also declined permanent name suppression by Judge Russell Collins at his sentencing last November.

His lawyer Emma Priest today appealed the decision in the High Court at Auckland before Justice Christian Whata.

Priest said there had been “extreme media” coverage of the case, and the trial was “highly politicised”.

During last year’s trial, the young man reached a deal with prosecutors after facing five charges of indecent assault, which related to four people: two men and two women.

He pleaded guilty to two amended charges of assault under the Summary Offences Act for the events at the young Labour event near Waihi in February 2018.

The assault charges were for the allegations against the two men. The charges against the two women were dismissed.

But victims aren’t happy.

After the sentencing, one of the victims was interviewed by Newstalk ZB, which Priest said today was not a “fair statement of what happened in the court”.

In the interview, the victim said the case had became a political football.

“If I’ve gone through this without justice, what about everyone else that goes through the system?” he said.

“I would have liked for him to actually have been given a consequence that reflects his behaviour.”

But I’d be surprised if a suppression decision can be based on charges that were withdrawn.

But Priest said her client did not want to engage in defamation proceedings or go to the Media Council.

“He just wants it all to go away.”

Most people who have been in court due to illegal actions would like it all to ‘go away”.

However, Justice Whata told Priest: “What you’re asking the court to do is suppress something that is highly topical.

“Actually, that’s why we have freedom of speech.”

He said public discussion of the case might be deemed as unfair to the offender but could also be seen to be unfair to the complainants.

Justice Whata said he was conscious there should not be any perceived special treatment for anyone in political parties.

He contemplated continuing suppression until after this year’s election.

“We’ve got an election coming up, and dollars to doughnuts this will be all over that and his face associated with it.”

Justice Whata reserved his decision on suppression and said he couldn’t promise a result in the near future as he “gave it careful consideration”.

Sounds like the judge is tending towards lifting suppression, but is inclined towards kicking the can down the road for a while, possibly until after the election.

But this could have an effect on suppression in the above donations case, where I think it is important that everything is out in the open.

 

Leave a comment

27 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  19th February 2020

    This “young man” ( is 22 young now, at that age I was considered a grown man and my father was fighting for his country) as was said by many at the time obviously has friends and relations in very high Labour ivory towers if release of his name could have an electoral effect !

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  19th February 2020

      what makes you think it would have an electoral effect?

      Seems plausible that he wouldn’t want to go through the rest of his life ,subjected to an incident where he was discharged without conviction.
      These 2 cases are not apples with apples and presenting them as such is political…mischief.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  19th February 2020

        It’s …mischief season, Blazer. Don’t be holier than thou.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  19th February 2020

          its the desperation of trying to get Labour into the story ,which is a NZF/National scandal…that amuses …me.

          Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  19th February 2020

        As the camp had unlimited liquor available to young people and no adults supervising. the harm was, I think, done by that revelation.

        As the name would mean nothing to almost everyone, I see little point in publishing it. Anyone who leaves such young people and an open bar together is asking for trouble.

        I agree, Blazer (don’t faint) It’s a meaningless comparison.

        But I think that Labour were very foolish to let teenagers loose on alcohol and must live with that.

        Reply
  2. Corky

     /  19th February 2020

    Most of the RIGHTIES, bar one, are prepared to take their lumps in public. Meanwhile, a little feral Lefty wants to scurry away and hide under a rock. That’s similar to what Lefty trolls do when the going gets a little too tough….they start talking to themselves. 😀

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  19th February 2020

      whats wrong with the exception?
      What could his reasons…be?

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  19th February 2020

        He may be feral, dishonest, a chinless wonder or a scion of old money. Maybe a man with a good reputation and a huge business empire, who gives generously to charity. Who knows?

        Reply
      • Ray

         /  19th February 2020

        “What makes you think it will have an electoral effect.”
        Judges notes Blazer, do keep up!

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  19th February 2020

          this-‘We’ve got an election coming up, and dollars to doughnuts this will be all over that and his face associated with it.”’?

          Reply
  3. Duker

     /  19th February 2020

    Pead PR ? Isnt that a powerful spin doctors associated with the National party ?
    Seems strange for political donors to have this approach

    Reply
  4. David

     /  19th February 2020

    Outrageous he wasnt convicted and then not to be named because it might effect Labours election result is absurd. Lets keep the separation of courts and politics rather than end up like the US.
    On the same subject why is name suppression still in place for the bloke convicted of murdering the young English girl on a tinder date, is he the son of a judge or someone well connected.
    If either of these folk were poor and brown and from South Auckland they would have been paraded for all to see.

    Reply
    • “If either of these folk were poor and brown and from South Auckland they would have been paraded for all to see.” – not wrong there. One law for the wealthy and the white, another for the poor and non-white.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  19th February 2020

        Not so, anyone can ask for name suppression. It only makes headlines when it’s a sensational case. Income and colour are irrelevant.

        I saw the killer’s name online (I wasn’t looking for it) but as it meant nothing to me, I have long forgotten it and his face.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  19th February 2020

          One criterion is that publishing the name will identify the victim. Another is that it may have a negative effect on someone else, quite unfairly. There is a longish list of reasons.

          Reply
  5. Three of the four people charged in the Serious Fraud Office’s prosecution concerning National Party donations have now voluntarily had their name suppression lifted.

    The three people are Yikun Zhang, Shijia Zheng, and Hengjia Zheng.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/119624613/three-of-four-names-revealed-in-national-party-donation-sfo-case

    Reply
  6. Jami-Lee Ross one of 4 charged by SFO

    Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross is one of the four men charged by the Serious Fraud Office in the National Party donations case – alongside a Chinese community leader who reportedly gave $100,000 to the party, and two others.

    Name suppression for Ross and his co-accused Zhang Yikun, Zheng Shijia, and Zheng Hengjia was lifted by the Auckland District Court on Wednesday morning after the latter trio applied to end the secrecy. Ross’ lawyers did not object and said the MP did not want to be made a scapegoat by others.

    Ross was the originator of a complaint in 2018 to the police over a $100,000 donation he had publicly claimed showed his former party leader Simon Bridges was corrupt. The police referred the matter to the SFO but in January it was Ross, not Bridges or other National figures, who was among those charged.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/02/19/1041741/jami-lee-ross-one-of-4-charged-by-sfo

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  19th February 2020

      I think it unlikely that Ross did anything wrong. The qualities his then party knew he had saw him with a high-ranking position on the party’s front bench. Someone getting that high couldn’t possibly be a pillock. And what did being ahead of so many others say about their perceived abilities?
      Did National give him the high ranking because of his qualities or in spite of them?

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12145605

      Reply
      • David

         /  19th February 2020

        Perhaps Ross did it and that was the reason why he was recording Bridges to try and trick him into saying something wrong, he didnt.
        Perhaps Ross was persuaded by some political operative or blogger to try and set Bridges up and it failed spectacularly.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  19th February 2020

          So Bridges was tricked into telling Ross that he had some very large donations that he had arranged and Ross was to ‘collect them’
          However when the large donations to Bridges electorate account were made , it was ‘just a mistake’ that they didnt go to the party instead where the names would hidden, and then bounced back to Bridges electorate account

          Reply
  7. Duker

     /  19th February 2020

    Thats what we need during an election year …a public trial where the inside story of a political parties donations …… sizzle sizzle
    Ross Statement
    “When I am permitted to say more and present evidence, I will. It will then be clear who was behind any scheme but the public statement from Mr Bridges and the party that they had no involvement is simply untrue.”

    His evidence will show ‘who was behind any scheme” and Bridges statement is …simply untrue”

    Dont you love trials that have heaps of evidence that we hope will be made public. Ross knows all about the partys methods and processes… how is national going to keep it quiet

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  19th February 2020

      You are reading this situation wrong. You need to put your blind socialist ideology to one side and ask yourself this: what does that average voter think? As a non voting average voter, all I see is a crook who Soper has proven is a certified liar. I’m more interested in Winston’s alleged crookedness. Of course things will change if JLR drops a bombshell in court. Let’s hope Winston overshadows these precedings.

      Reply
    • But didn’t he make a complaint to the Electoral Commission who handed over to the police who handed over to the SFO? He must have given them evidence to get that rolling. Do you really think he has kept evidence from them, allowed them to charge him, and is then going to spring you evidence at the trial? Sounds like a lame TV program.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  19th February 2020

        Ancillary evidence …..for many other donations. After all we know there are 2 $100k donations ..will he have personal testimony of many others and the names involved.
        Who says he has handed over all the evidence , he will have personal testimony around amounts , dates etc.
        The Electoral Act provisions aren’t being used, I wonder why?
        I don’t think he knew he would be charged until very recently and we don’t know what’s Nationals lawyers have done to deflect any possibly charges for the party itself. Remember all the background machinations over the Todd Barclay and certain people were pressured over any evidence …Glynis Dickson and so on.
        Seem to be some heavy weight QC s already on board for a relatively small case and for small fry

        Reply
  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  19th February 2020

    JLR as a suicide bomber.

    Reply

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