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Ex-MP Name Suppression Case Puts All Former MPs Under Suspicion - Michael Laws

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The decision of a Nelson District Court judge to grant name suppression to a former Member of Parliament charged with indecent assault upon a 13 year old girl "puts all former MPs under suspicion and is yet another example of selective name suppression in this country," says Michael Laws

" What the media reports do is identify a small group from which the defendant is drawn. But that places all ex-MPs under suspicion and that is unconscionable."

Mayor Laws said that the name suppression issue in New Zealand has reached farcical proportions and that "the judiciary is out of touch with both public sentiment and the concept of open justice."

" Currently, we have a musician convicted of a sex crime; a comedian charged with appalling child abuse; an Olympian charged with rape and serious assault; and another ex-MP also before the courts for fraud. In each case, totally innocent individuals are under suspicion and that is completely wrong."

Mayor Laws said that if a justice system is to be open and accountable "then its proceedings need to be transparent. Name suppression is directly contradictory of that principle. If the aim is not to identify victims, then suppress any mention of the relationship of the defendant to the victim."

The Wanganui mayor was himself charged last year with breaching a name suppression order on his national radio show. He was discharged without conviction.

" But this latest case puts every former parliamentarian - including myself - under suspicion. Comedians have suffered the same suspicion and it is wrong."

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