Police to investigate suppression blogger
BY CLIO FRANCIS AND LUKE APPLEBY
Police will investigate a prominent blogger who has identified a national figure charged with indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
The person has court ordered name suppression but blogger Cameron Slater - already before the courts for four counts of breaching suppression orders and one count of publishing information which could lead to the victim of a crime being identified - named them in a post today by using computer coding to mask the text.
Police said in a statement this evening they would "investigate the deliberate breach", which was irresponsible as it could potentially lead to the identity of the young victim, an act prohibited by law, detective Inspector Winter said.
If the computer coding in today's post is converted, it reveals the name of a national figure charged with indecently assaulting a girl aged between 12 and 16. A Stuff.co.nz reporter and police technical staff were amongst those able to decrypt the website entry.
Mr Winter said that he was in liaison with Police legal section over the actions of the blogger.
The name also appears on another website forum administered in the United States, where overseas internet-users responded to a request for help in de-coding the entry.
Slater, who writes the Whale Oil blog, said it had not been difficult to learn the identity of the accused.
"I had someone ring up the court and they just gave up the information with no identification, no nothing," he said.
The accused, who has interim name suppression, appeared in Nelson District Court last Thursday.
His bail conditions include living at an address away from his home town, avoiding contact with his partner and the alleged victim, and not possessing or obtaining firearms. Court documents show it is alleged the man touched the girl's breasts and genitals on December 30.
Late last year, Slater was charged over other online blog posts which police argued could lead to the identification of an entertainer and a former Olympian who had both been granted name suppression.
In those cases, the blogger used cryptic images and an internet link to an online news article to reveal the accused.
Slater said he had received a landslide of supportive emails since he was charged with four counts of breaching current suppression laws in December.
"I think that the public have had enough and I am just tapping into what the public want."
Slater will next appear in Auckland District Court on January 19.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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