Changes to name suppression laws

The government has announced plans to implement the recommendations of the Law Commission to change the laws around name suppression. In summary:

  • Name suppression will be harder to get, with applicants having to prove extreme hardship to qualify.
  • There will be more protection for the identities of child witnesses and victims.
  • Penalties for breaches will increase.
  • Rules will be applied more consistently across the court system.
  • Internet service providers will be obliged to take down or block access to material breaching an order that is hosted on their systems. (Tech Liberty describes this as another attempt by government to force ISPs to censor the internet.)

A bill is expected to be submitted to Parliament before the end of the year.

1 Comment

Hmm. Non permanent name

Hmm. Non permanent name suppression is maybe the one area in which I believe in (what I suppose amounts to) censorship. An accusation can be a very harmful thing, in that people simply do not believe that people are innocent until proven guilty (s25(g) of the NZBORA) and upon acquitial people still believe that the accused are guilty: see the Kahui case, an acquittal in one minute and yet people still believe in Chris Kahui's guilt. Simply put, if victims get suppression in criminal cases, why should the accused be any different?

I'd be interested if the Council is taking a stance for this move, if they'd also support the added protection for child witnesses, as enforcing it surely involves treading on civil liberties the same way as it would be for name suppression for the accused.

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