Council candidate outs brothel visitors
A Christchurch City Council candidate who threatened to publicise vehicle registration numbers of people using a Phillipstown brothel has done exactly that.
Hagley-Ferrymead ward hopeful Wayne Hawker posted on his Facebook page the plate numbers of 10 cars he spotted visiting an England St brothel during a stake-out over three nights last week.
A prominent civil rights lawyer said this type of "moral crusade" was arguably a breach of privacy rights, but Hawker said if the car owners wanted to pursue legal action they "can bring it on".
Hawker, an England St resident, said the brothel started operating about six weeks ago. Last week, he said he was considering posting registrations numbers online in a bid to shut it down.
Hawker sat in his car across the road from the property between Thursday and Saturday nights and wrote down the licence plates of cars that pulled up.
"Some cars parked down the road a bit and then [people] wandered down . . . two were parked on the property itself," he said, adding the clients were "business types" with "smart cars and suits".
Council bylaws restrict commercial brothel locations and England St is outside the permitted area. However, small owner-operated brothels in residential areas are allowed.
Hawker argues the owner does not live at the address and therefore it does not meet the criteria. He posted the numbers early yesterday.
"It shouldn't be operating in a residential area where there are children and families," he said.
"That's what I'm against."
Hawker said the council had issued an abatement notice and the brothel's owner had until Wednesday to decide what action to take.
He had given no thought to the potential legal issues.
"What are they going to do? Embarrass themselves to bring legal action against me?" he asked.
"They can bring it on."
Civil rights lawyer Michael Bott said Hawker's actions could be defamatory.
"If someone's son or daughter uses their dad's car for instance and goes to a brothel and that rego number is published online . . . a person could suffer an unwarranted slur on their reputation," he said.
Bott said Hawker would be better to let the council handle the matter.
The property owner could not be reached yesterday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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