Whale-watching: gathering storm clouds?

I’m a bit under-capacitated at the moment, here’s today’s links with brief comments.

JamesMurray’s blog at TV3, sustains an argument that the method not the purpose is the problem with Whale’s crusade:

To some degree Whaleoil has a point – name suppression laws, which were last reviewed in 1985, are hideously out-of-date in a society where we can all become publishers of content at the push of a button.

And it seems distasteful, at the very least, that a well-known entertainer should receive permanent name suppression for a sexual assault where revealing his identity might harm his career in a disproportionate manner.

This is not a luxury that would be afforded to someone not in the public eye. It is a double standard that needs to be rectified. There may be an argument that we need to protect celebrities or other well known people from undue media scrutiny in cases like these, but that argument is squashed by the need for a justice system that treats each man as an equal.

My problem with Whaleoil is not his idea but his method.

Views on news: Coward’s way

The question is just how out-of-date are suppression rules? I don’t think we can assume they don’t apply to bloggers as well as MSM publishing ventures.

Second, the rules talk about hardship to victims of crime (including the perps) and the Law Commission’s recommendations include amending this to undue hardship”. One could argue that loss of income is hardship.

Third, why are we so caught up on revenge and the punishment of shame?

The Dom Post‘s editorial has a bit both ways:

Slater is on a mission. He has said, outside the courtroom, that he believes everyone should be equal before the law, that celebrities and the wealthy have their identities suppressed more often and more easily than do ordinary Kiwis, and that the law needs changing.

The Dominion Post agrees. But there are better ways to lobby for a more open court system than by putting at risk the future of a teenage girl.

At times of egregious breach, the solicitor-general has been keen to go after those in the mainstream media who have broken suppression orders or otherwise committed contempt of court.

Either everyone who breaches this law is prosecuted, or no-one is. And were the latter to become the reality, those sections of the Criminal Justice Act pertaining to suppression orders need to be repealed.

Dom Post: …take notice

Media law academic Steve Price provides some welcome legal context:

Why are they picking on Mr Oil? Well, whereas the media pay lip service to the suppression orders and laws, Mr Oil rather thumbs his nose at them. Also, I’m guessing the police may well be using Mr Oil as a test case to send a message to others. I don’t like that practice much, but again, they’re within their rights, and it’s no defence for Mr Oil to complain that he’s been singled out. The Solicitor-General has done that with contempt prosecutions fairly regularly…

For those who think it’s discriminatory to give suppression orders to celebrities but not oiks like us, consider this: if you got prosecuted for weeing behind a pub, the media wouldn’t be interested. If it was an All Black, it would be front-page news. Those are the effects of a judge opting not to impose a name suppression order. Isn’t there a decent argument that that would be discriminatory too, and that name suppression merely irons out the discrepancy? (Not saying I buy that entirely, just that the issue’s a bit more complicated than some people suggest.)

Media Law Journal: Whale of a campaign

There was another name suppressed today. The alleged cop-shooter on attempted murder charges in Manukau District Court.

There may be a gathering storm…

When the Police charged me to “set an exam­ple” they picked the wrong per­son. If they wanted a sac­ri­fi­cial lamb they should have picked a lefty, they would have lain down and said fuck me in the arse because I like it and I’ll say sorry after­wards and pay a fine, I should have been more sub­servient, and doff their caps to the estab­lish­ment as they left court. But then lefty weak­lings never test the edge unless it is in favour of peo­ple like Pol Pot or Hamas.

Whaleoil: Sanctimonious, unctous twat alert.

A pithy and pungent attack on Whale’s political foes and those who question his purpose.

Mr Slater isn’t prepared to allow the process of legislative reform take its course. You see, he already knows what needs done, and knows that he is just the person to bring about these needed changes. So he’s started “outing” the names of individuals where these have been suppressed by the courts, on the basis that people want to know them and so he’ll tell them. And anyway, why should criminal scum get to hide from the righteous wrath of the mobilised mob?

Pundit: Wonky jihad #2.

An object of Whale’s substantial scorn, but raising serious issues about suppression & blogger “justice”

Cameron will find out in due course, whether or not that is seen to identify the ex-MP with name supression, but if they do prosecute the Whale, the question has to be asked whether newspapers should be charged also?

The man’s name was suppressed when he appeared in the Nelson District Court on Thursday.

A Sunday newspaper published details about the man, which Slater said had narrowed the field of possible accused to three.

He wanted to clarify who the accused was so the other two men were not unfairly accused.

Now I am not gunning for the Herald on Sunday. But I would say that far more people worked out from their story, who the accussed is, than the handful of people who were capable of working out the code Cameron had used, and reverse engineering it into hexadecimal and finally the  alphabet.

Kiwiblog: Who made it easier?

Has the HoS breached?

I don’t believe that Cameron Slater is giving power to the victims in these cases, nor do I believe that is his intention, although it might be a justification he is using now. I think he is trying to build power for himself. And that’s a cynical abuse of very real situtations for actual real people.

The hand mirror:  Cameron Slater please stop.

Victims of sexual violence could be the losers here

Prick seems to think he could put this child’s identity into the public arena with his stupid coded message and get away with it. (Don’t fool yourselves, pathetic righties. The identity of the alleged assailant will have identified the victim to those who know them). He actually said the Police should have better things to do than nab him for his blatant, unrepentant crime. He thinks he has the right to add to the suffering of sex victims to get himself some more airtime. (Congrats, btw, to news outlets that are refusing to name his blog and its URL).

The Standard: Scumbag Slater.

Dishing & taking the shitstorm, vitriol all’round

We think that Whale is bloody brave, but in this incident the victim could be a family member and if that is the case we can see some justification for suppression.

However, we have also read the post of Lisa Lewis today, who writes about being abused at a young age and wished that at the time the name of the perpetrator was made public.

Its clear to see that this debate will continue for some time and its a hot issue – Gotcha – Whales website has crashed and our site is getting many hits searching for anything we have published on the MP who is alleged to have been charged with sex offences.

RoarPrwan: Whale’s dork.

Fence-sitting, fame by association

Lets put that into perspective for a minute.

If every blogger in New Zealand posted the man’s identity in the headline of a post, and nothing else on the post. Would that breach suppression? Would the Police charge every blogger who posted his name in the headline and nothing else in the post?

Because if even 20 blogs did it that is an awful lot of police work required.

Where is the link?

That link would be formed by the MSM who post their own stories such as this one.

In isolation Whaleoil’s post meant absolutely nothing. Others have simply decoded it and then wrote their own stories in relation to linking it back to the details released at the weekend. Some haven’t even bothered to decode it at all and have just jumped up and down saying Whaleoil has breached the suppression order.

Cactus Kate: You can’t suppress a whale

An offshore perspective.

Whale is unrepentant and determined to continue making his points. He’s inviting legal retaliation and seems to be relishing the fight.

Thanks to his binary code stunt, it seems many more people are aware of the identity of the former MP who’s now an alledged sex offender.

The issues are becoming a little clearer and it seems that a perceived double standard is at the centre…

Do high-profile defendants get preferential treatment in name suppression?

Can a blogger be charged/convicted for a breach in the same way as the MSM?

How will the government react to the pressure for change & what will happen to the Law Cnnission report?

Leave a reply and try to be polite

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: