Sensible Sentencing Trust abandons name suppression appeal

PHIL KITCHIN
Last updated 15:06 05/08/2014
garth mcvicar
SPOKESMAN: Garth McVicar.

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The Sensible Sentencing Trust has abandoned its fight with New Zealand's director of human rights proceedings over the naming a serial paedophile.

The trust had been involved in a long-running privacy wrangle with the paedophile - a former CEO - after naming him on the trust website in 2009.

The man who was jailed in 1995 for sexually abusing two girls aged 10 and 14 had been given interim name suppression at an earlier hearing. 

No record of him being granted permanent name suppression could be found from court records.

The man complained to the Privacy Commissioner who found the trust had breached his privacy and referred the case to the director of human rights proceedings.

A stand-off ensued between the trust and the director who last year launched legal action seeking compensation for the paedophile.

The trust fought back and tried to have the case thrown out.

But trust spokesman Garth McVicar today said the trust was left in an invidious position when the Court of Appeal ruled interim name suppression orders "were in fact permanent."

The situation was "ludicrous" as a District Court Judge had earlier provided an official minute saying no record existed of permanent name suppression.

The paedophile's lawyer, the Privacy Commissioner and the director of human rights proceedings had all conceded they could find no record of permanent name suppression.

But the Court of Appeal ruling effectively ended the matter and McVicar said the two sides have reached agreement with no money changing hands.

Legal action has ended but the trust has agreed it breached three privacy rights of the paedophile and would send key people for privacy training.

McVicar said the case exposed a debacle because "after five years someone pulls a rabbit out of the hat and found a section in the law that basically amounted to an interim order amounting to a life-long blanket protection."

It is understood the paedophile received a $15,000 payout from police.

Police got involved because the man complained after details of his convictions were given by a police officer to a third party who later passed them anonymously to the trust.

Police executed a search warrant on the trust's offices in 2011 to obtain details and it is believed the police officer who leaked details lost his job. 

The paedophile was jailed in 1995 on five counts of committing indecent acts on young girls.  

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He was acquitted at the same trial of two charges of rape and four charges of indecent assault.

He also has a conviction for careless driving causing death.

- The Dominion Post

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