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Supreme Court agrees to hear sex offender’s bid for permanent name suppression

2 Jun 2023

| Author: Andrea Hilton

Sections 200(1), 200(2) (f) and 202 (1) (c) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 – permanent name suppression – connected person – principles of youth justice – ss 74(2)(a) and 75 of the Senior Courts Act 2016 – general or public importance – leave to appeal – exceptional circumstances

E v R [2023] NZSC 61, LF v R SC 14/223 (decision 23 May 2023)

(O’Regan, Ellen France and Kós JJ) 

LF pleaded guilty to sexual offending in relation to six complainants. The offending occurred when he was 14 to 17 years old. He was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention. E was a connected person.

The District Court declined LF permanent name suppression, sought on the basis he would be caused extreme hardship or his safety would be endangered if his name was made public. The High Court dismissed his appeal and the Court of Appeal declined leave to appeal.

E was granted leave to appeal on “whether the CA was correct to dismiss the part of E’s appeal seeking suppression of LF’s name under s 200(1) and 200(2) (f) of the Criminal Procedure Act”.

LF was granted an extension of time to appeal directly to the Supreme Court. Leave was granted to appeal the High Court decision to decline LF permanent name suppression and an interim name suppression order was granted pending determination of the appeals by the Supreme Court.

Held: Leave was granted because the proposed appeals raised questions of general or public importance about the way youth justice principles, rehabilitation prospects and the risks arising from publication intersect. To prevent LF’s appeal being futile, interim name suppression is granted. It is a rare and exceptional case.

E v The King, LF v The King [2023]NZSC 61 (1)

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