Another habeas corpus writ over lockdown dismissed

Alongside the dismissal of a habeas corpus writ over claimed illegal detention under the Covid-19 lockdown – see Failures with habeas corpus writ against Ardern et al over lockdown ‘detention’ – an associate of failed Applicant ‘A’ has similarly failed for much the same reasons, except that ‘B’ was not currently serving a home detention sentence.

The respondents have established that any detention to which B is subject to under the order is lawful.

B is not subject to detention within the meaning of the Habeas Corpus Act 2001. If I am wrong, and B is detained, the detention is lawful.

‘B’ he also applied for permanent name suppression on similar grounds.

B seeks an order for permanent suppression of the publication of his name and other identifying details. The gist of B’s submissions (oral and written) were that, although he brings this application for himself, the implications for the wider community mean it will attract publicity and attention. Some people in the community will favour the application and underlying thrust of the argument, being that the order was unlawful because it was unnecessary, and some will not. In all of this, B’s identity does not much matter, and he prefers not to be named.

B also advised me that he has been the subject of death and other threats since becoming associated with A and, although he has advised the police of these, he is concerned there may be a repeat.

I decline to grant B name suppression on the basis of the death threats of which he informed me. B was not on oath when he told me of these matters and nor is there any evidence of a link between the mere fact of publication of his name, in connection with any legal proceeding, and the making of any such threat. Even if such were established, it is for the police to investigate any threat to B, rather than for the Court to prohibit disclosure.

B’s other submissions, which were consistent with Mr Powell’s point that B’s application might be considered “public interest” litigation, are more persuasive. I accept B’s identity does not particularly matter to any media report of his application. What is important is that an application for habeas corpus has been made in respect of
an order affecting the entire population, and the grounds on which the application has been made.

However, neither Mr Powell nor B referred me to any authority or made any submissions addressing how suppression for these reasons could be reconciled with the authorities cited above. I may have been able to take this point further had they done so. Absent that, however, I decline to make the order for permanent name suppression sought.

Claims with no evidence and no supporting arguments.

B advised me he would wish to appeal any refusal of name suppression. At the end of the hearing, I made an order for interim suppression pending further order of the Court. I continue that order, again subject to further order of the Court, for 20 working days from the date of this judgment to enable B to pursue an appeal if he wishes.

That’s standard and the same as for ‘A’.

So why would two associates make two near identical applications to the court? Both seem to have been poorly argued.

And both applied for permanent name suppression without citing authorities or evidence.

While the legalities of lockdown requirements warrant being tested this dual attempt seems to have been a waste of court time, with more time to be spent on the two appeals on name suppression.

I think there is public interest in knowing who these lame litigants are.

Judgment: B v Ardern [2020] NZHC 814 (24 April 2020)

The associated judgment: A v Ardern [2020] NZHC 796 (23 April 2020)

Leave a comment


  1. Duker

     /  29th April 2020

  2. It’s a damned shame that a good cause has been stuffed up by these two. Emotions shouldn’t come into it. It’s either illegal or it isn’t.

    • duperez

       /  29th April 2020

      The ball’s in our court then. I guess the scope is there for someone else to challenge in a less frivolous way.

      • Duker

         /  29th April 2020

        Its still a hopeless cause …but lawyers love an aggrieved party with more money than sense and will tell anybody ‘its aguable in court’ . The chances of winning are astonishingly small and like Bob Jones recent court case, top flight legal counsel will advise not to bother and ‘keener but less experienced’ will take it on

  3. lurcher1948

     /  29th April 2020

    Probably dummies on YSB or Kiwiblog GD, flying a freedom southern state flag allowed to own,guns being allowed to bash their wives and the freedom to have their way with sheep…sounds like a David Seymour policy anything to hang onto Epson,and the quest for freedom(WHATEVER)

    • David Seymour does NOT advocate those things; that is a complete fabrication.

      In fact, it’s libellous, I’d say. You are making him sound like someone who believes in law breaking he does not, as you’d know if you knew him) and has a policy of allowing domestic violence, open season on gun ownership and bestiality. These are all disgusting complete inventions, he does not advocate any of them and nor does the party,

      Why on earth would he fly a US Southern flag ? That doesn’t make any sense.


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