Men deny historical sexual offending, can keep their names secret for now
Two men accused of historical sexual offending will keep their names a secret for now.
The two 24-year-olds were arrested and charged in December in relation to offending which allegedly occurred between December 2012 and February 2013.
The pair are co-accused of jointly offending with another man of having sexual connection with a young person under 16.
Both have denied the charge.
On Thursday at the Waitākere District Court, Judge Josephine Bouchier granted interim name suppression as she had concerns about the pair’s fair trial rights.
Lawyers for the pair also entered not guilty pleas and elected a trial by jury.
At the hearing, lawyer Ron Mansfield sought interim name suppression for his client through until the end of the trial and any appeals on the basis of fair trial rights and extreme hardship.
The other man’s lawyer, Annabel Cresswell, also sought name suppression on the basis of fair trial rights.
Both lawyers said if the men had been charged at the time of the alleged offending, they would have been dealt with in the Youth Court, meaning they would have had automatic name suppression.
The rest of the lawyers’ submissions to the court were suppressed.
The continuation of name suppression was opposed by Robert Stewart, acting on behalf of Stuff and NZME.
Detective inspector John Sutton previously said a warrant for arrest will be sought for a third man who is overseas and will be arrested if he returns to New Zealand.
Sutton said police had not yet made any final decisions on whether an extradition request will be made.
In total, 35 men were assessed as “persons of interest” in the case and five suspects were identified.
Police canvassed 110 girls as part of their investigation.
Of those, 25 girls declined to give statements but were believed to have been the victims of some form of sexual offending, Sutton said.
Seven girls made formal complaints to police.