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Lawyer points JP in right direction over suppression

Friday 10 March 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National


Lawyer points JP  in right direction  over suppression

Justice of the Peace John Whitta entered into a debate over name suppression at the Criminal Court in Avarua yesterday.

Defence counsel Lavi Rokoika applied for a discharge without conviction, and while noting a reporter was in court, sought name suppression on the grounds of protecting a complainant from identification.

JP Whitta asked if the person in question had sought name suppression as the matter had previously been before the court. 

Rokoika said the point of suppression was for protection of the victims.

JP Whitta said it was not automatic, in New Zealand it was automatic for matters concerning sexual assault, but that was different.   

“You don’t get suppression to hide victims. We do here for children and offending of people of a certain age.”

In the case they were discussing in court, JP Whitta said the suppression application was using the victim to benefit the defendant.   

Rokoika said it was a family matter and not a criminal matter.

“Let me have a look, it is interesting,” JP Whitta said.

He then stood the matter down.

When it was recalled about 30 minutes later, JP Whitta said he agreed with Rokoika and apologised.

“I was thinking of it as a criminal matter which leads me to think, should it be heard in list court.”

Rokoika said it was filed as a contempt matter which made it a criminal matter.

In this case, the matter would be suppressed, JP Whitta said.