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.

Dotcom’s gagging order

Kim Dotcom has been granted an interim injunction to stop former security guard Wayne Tempero revealing anything about any of Dotcom’s (or his wife’s) business,  personal, musical or political details.

Court gags Dotcom bodyguard

Dotcom made a successful application for an interim injunction against Wayne Tempero in the High Court at Auckland yesterday. The action came soon after the Herald reported that Tempero was set to release “secret revelations” about Dotcom’s “mindset and megalomania”.

Tempero resigned from Dotcom’s staff in October.

Yesterday Justice Sarah Katz granted an interim injunction and ordered that Mr Tempero – and anyone else on his behalf – was “restrained from using or disclosing to any person, firm, corporation or entity, any confidential or trade information acquired whilst working for Kim Dotcom”.

The information included, but was not limited to, any information acquired by Mr Tempero “about Kim Dotcom, his role with Kim Dotcom, any information to do with providing services to Kim Dotcom and any other information whatsoever concerning Kim Dotcom, his businesses, his political party, his music, his family and friends, and all images of Kim Dotcom, his family and friends at any time”.

The order also prohibits Mr Tempero from disclosing computer software.

Mr Tempero was also ordered not to disclose any information about Dotcom’s wife Mona’s business or his other companies including Megaupload and Megastuff.

Peterwn at Whale Oil:

The judge probably adopted the lawyer’s draft order ‘as is’. The wording would cover his employees or anyone acting on his behalf. It would only cover Cam if Kim can show on the balance of probabilities that he was acting on Mr Tempero’s behalf – this would be an issue that Cam would need to consider but his sources go far wider than this.

I am surprised that Mr Tempero would do anything but have the utmost respect for his clients and ex-clients and keep things ‘in confidence’. His future engagements depend on it. I cannot believe he is disclosing such confidential information, seems to me Kim suspects he has, hence the injunction. The only other explanation is Kim is foul-mouthing him around the place and Mr Tempero feels a need to fight back to maintain his professional reputation.

Cam Slater responds:

Kim Dotcom already broke the confidentiality agreement when he spoke to Rachel Glucina about Temperos pay and conditions…game over after that.

This seems to relate to this from Rachel Glucina in NZ Herald last month (February 26):

Now it’s the Dotcom tapeKim Dotcom has been taped talking to an unpaid former staff member, The Diary has learned. It’s understood a news organisation is in discussions to air it. Dotcom is allegedly trying to stop it by enforcing non-disclosure agreements.

Dotcom came under fire last week from Kiwi small business owners who are owed as much as $500,000 in unpaid bills. A lack of funds was also blamed for longtime bodyguard Wayne Tempero’s exit.

The Megaupload founder told The Diary he could afford to pay his minder only half of what he was getting two years ago.Dotcom, who continues to embrace an opulent lifestyle, has pledged to pay his debts when he has the money. But when? Who knows? Yesterday he told The Diary he did not want to talk about the tape.

Gagging orders are risky. They tend to get journalists more interested in issues and more determined to dig.

Whale Oil is promising to reveal much more. NZ Herald obviously has information too. And media interest is likely to be stoked up by this gagging order.

Typical ‘Eddie’, appalling Standard

‘Eddie’ is a Labour Party SpokesPseudonym at The Standard well known for promoting distorted and false information to smear. Today’s post is typical:

Nats back to censoring the press

The Government has injuncted* RNZ from running a story based on a leaked Kiwirail document that shows National’s under-investment in Kiwirail will make the tracks more dangerous and less useable at a time when it is firing 200 maintenance staff.

It’s really reached that point now, where the Nats think they have the right to censor coverage that they don’t agree with.

Key set the standard (assisted by the craven Police) by having media outlets raided during an election campaign to chill them into not running the details of what he said to a political ally in a public cafe in front of the nation’s media.

Now, ministers obviously think its open season – they can bully, threaten, and take court action against any media outlet that is preparing to “publish an opinion …. in a most irresponsible way”.

That’s Mallard-like brazen bullshit.

A commenter takes ‘Eddie’ to task:

Gosman2

Funny, Radio NZ National makes no mention of the Government placing an injunction on them over this story. It has stated that KiwiRail has placed one on them though.

[kiwirail is part of the government. The ministers will have been informed under no surprises. Brownlee endorsed the action. Eddie]

Accusations presented as fact with absolutely no evidence – a typical ‘Eddie’ post.

This black ops campaign does Labour’s image no favours.

And it’s the height of hypocrisy for ‘Eddie’ to accuse of censorship, ‘Eddie’ famously tried to censor me for question previous smearing misinformation:

Dunne isn’t angry, but…

“Eddie” digs dirt deeper