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11 November 2022

Name suppression lapses in assault on female case

Saturday 4 March 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Court, National

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Name suppression lapses in assault on female case

A man facing three charges of common assault and one charge of assault on a female has lost his bid for name suppression.

William Browne, through his defence counsel Lavi Rokoika, applied for the continuation of name suppression before Justice of the Peace John Whitta at the Criminal Court in Avarua on Thursday.

Rokoika argued that the publication of his name would prejudice his employment as a pilot.

Rokoika said Browne was yet to enter a plea and the case was “complicated”.

“The regular person down the road does not necessarily understand the presumption of innocence,” Rokoika said.

“As soon as you come through the court system, it raises eyebrows.”

JP Whitta responded that the principles of an open court must be adhered to and “the presumption of innocence is not automatic grounds for name suppression”.

“It’s a fairly limited list of things that prevents publication of name. Stopping him from gaining employment is a grey area,” JP Whitta said.

“There needs to be very good reasons for suppression of name. He’s facing four charges.

“Since public embarrassment is an unavoidable consequence of appearing in Court, the application for extending interim name suppression is declined,” JP Whitta concluded.

The matter was adjourned to April 20, when Browne is expected to make a plea.

The defendant appeared first appeared in Court in December last year alongside three others who were also granted name suppression.