Sex offender's privacy disputed

Last updated 12:01 25/06/2014

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The Sensible Sentencing Trust has failed in an attempt to derail the claim of a convicted sex offender who says his privacy was breached when details of his offending were put on the trust's website.

The man was convicted at Christchurch in 1995 of five offences of indecent assault or doing an indecent act. He complained to the privacy commissioner when his name and convictions appeared on the trust's website of offenders.

He said the court had suppressed his name. The trust disputes suppression was granted and says the court's record shows an interim order was made at an early stage, but no permanent order was recorded.

However, the Court of Appeal said it appeared the interim order was never lifted so remained in force.

In any event, the director of human rights proceedings, who is taking the case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal on the man's behalf, said whether the name was suppressed was irrelevant to many of the privacy issues at stake.

The information about the man's convictions came from a police employee who took computer information and gave it to the man's employer and the trust.

A privacy complaint against police has been settled on confidential terms.

The trust is due to go before the Human Rights Review Tribunal in August to defend the privacy breach claim.

But in the meantime it had gone to court to argue the tribunal had no power to hear the claim or suppress the name of the man pending its hearing.

The Court of Appeal this morning dismissed the trust's appeal. The three judges said they agreed with an earlier High Court decision finding that the tribunal can hear and decide the privacy claim.

It also decided that the tribunal had properly made interim suppression orders to preserve the position until the case was decided.

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