Police investigate name suppression breach

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 13:40 23/11/2012
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STACY SQUIRES/ Fairfax NZ
SOCIAL MEDIA: Police are investigating an alleged breach of name suppression on social media sites.

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Timaru police are investigating a complaint of a possible breach of court suppression orders on social media, allegedly leading to the identification of the man charged in connection with last week's alleged abduction and assault of a Timaru boy.

The 26-year-old entered no plea to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to the boy, when he appeared in the Timaru district court on Wednesday. He was remanded in custody without plea until December 5.

Judge Joanna Maze granted the man interim name suppression, but comments claiming to identify him and making threats against a man, appeared on social media within hours of his court appearance.

Senior Sergeant Randall Tikitiki confirmed a complaint has been made to police alleging the court's suppression order has been breached. He would not comment on who had made the complaint.

"We are looking at what material is there and comparing that with the court order."

Asked whether police would also be investigating the threats made, Mr Tikitiki said that was possible, explaining it was not unusual for police to discover other offences during an inquiry.

He could not comment on whether police were looking at potentially a single offender, or whether the inquiry would consider all those who had discussed the man on social media, as the investigation was still in its early stages.

It is believed to be the first time South Canterbury police have dealt with such a complaint.

There are generally two types of suppression orders, automatic suppression which covers specific people, evidence and details in criminal cases and in specialised courts. The other form is ordered by the judge and can deal with the suppression of anything from names to individual facts, sections of evidence or even (at least temporarily) suppression of a whole case.

Most of the rules surrounding suppression have been long established and apply not only to the print and broadcast media but also to internet news sites and other internet applications including blogs and social media.

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- The Timaru Herald

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