'Prominent' Auckland actor on sex charges retains name suppression
The Auckland actor facing multiple sex charges will get to keep his name secret for now.
Following a name suppression hearing at the Auckland District Court on Thursday, Judge John Bergseng agreed non-publication of the man's name should continue until his trial which he was told could be a year to 18 months away.
Judge Bergseng said he was satisfied that submissions from the man's lawyer Ron Mansfield left him sure that he would suffer extreme hardship as a result of publication of his name.
The man faces four charges of indecent assault and two charges of sexual violation in relation to four female victims, alleged to have happened between 2010 and 2013.
Details of the charges were presented for the first time.
The actor's lawyer said the charges arose out of one-on-one acting classes the man had offered and the conduct was consensual.
Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said his client didn't want to apply for suppression but "needed to" because publication of his name in relation to the charges could lead to a loss of work.
Mansfield asked Judge Bergseng to continue the man's name suppression until the trial, so that he could continue to find work in the entertainment industry.
"As an actor of some prominence, if these allegations are published at this point it will have an immediate affect on his ability to obtain work and even if he was found not guilty it will have a permanent impact on him," Mansfield said.
"The reality is that all of the work he obtains is on a contract basis…We're saying this man will be unable to obtain work and will be unable to obtain an income."
Mansfield claimed media had already breached suppression orders, and had allowed speculation to fester to the point online communities had tried to guess his identity.
"There will be a permanent impact even if he's found not guilty," Mansfield said.
He rebuked suggestions by the Crown that publication of his name could lead to other victims coming forward, saying the investigation had been "full".
Crown prosecutor Kirsten Lummis opposed the interim name suppression, saying the man hadn't met the law's test of "extreme" hardship.
She pointed to New Zealand broadcaster Tony Veitch, and personalities in the United States including Roman Polanski and Mike Tyson who had "done all sorts of things" but had continued to thrive in the entertainment industries after making comebacks.
She argued there was no evidence pointing to the man's level of earnings and suggested he had other means of earning an income and that his wife was still working.
The man will reappear in court in March.