Name suppression: Hypothetical

Would Scott Ritter have got name suppression in New Zealand?

PHILADELPHIA – A longtime UN weapons inspector who blamed a 2001 sex-sting arrest on his criticism of the Iraq war has again been charged in an online child-sex case, and this time he was caught on camera. [NZ Herald 15/01/10]

He’s no doubt considered (by right-thinking individuals in the herd) to be darling of the “liberal intelligentsia”, so I would suppose that the dribblejaws would argue “Of course,” because of his supposed “hero” status among those of us who were against the Iraq war from the beginning. That’s the sort of fevered logic you might find in some sections of the blogosphere – out in the the opinionated ooze.

As in this example:

Now, it turns out, Ritter is in the news again, this time for being caught in a teen sex sting. That’s right, the pro-Iranian weapons inspector is also a pervert…

I have a feeling that Ritter’s days as the “sky is falling” king of the far left are over. . .or should be.

[A rake’s progress]

Or this one, which is almost funny:

Former Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, was Nabbed in a Teen Sex Sting.  Here’s another example of the SCUM that makes up the United Nations.  From sex scandals with 15 year old girls, to raping people they are supposed to be protecting, to aiding, abetting, and covering for terrorists, the UN is a corrupt, unfixable organization that sucks up resources and perpetuates the ideals of despots.  Controlled by an anti-Semitic Arab block, and the Euro-trash socialists who aim to appease them, I see nothing good coming from this bureaucracy of leeches.  Ritter, who masturbated on a webcam for what he thought was a 15 YO girl, is a typical UN employee.  It’s like you need to be a degenerate to work for this organization.  Not only an employee, this scumbag was the chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-1998.  Ritter was also caught in 2 other sex stings involving underage girls, one in June 2001 involving a 16 YO girl, and on in April 2001 involving a 14 YO girl.  Yep, he’s certainly got the qualifications for working for the UN.

[Thoughts by Steve]

Of course, thoughtful Steve links to Fox News.

No minors were harmed in the making of the Ritter affidavit [AO content warning], so maybe he wouldn’t get name suppression in New Zealand.

Ritter was caught in a sting operation and it isn’t the first time. According to this report it’s Ritter’s third strike. Last time it seems he did get some form of unofficial name suppression:

Posted: January 19, 2003
7:11 pm Eastern

Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector who says President Bush should be impeached for his Iraq policy, was secretly arrested and prosecuted in New York a year and a half ago after allegedly being caught in an Internet sex sting, say law enforcement sources in published reports.

According to CNN, in the 2001 case the record was sealed after Ritter secured a lenient plea bargain with the court.

Meanwhile, in local suppressed news, the Papatoetoe shooter continues with name suppression, despite the judge’s wishes:

In court yesterday, the accused man said nothing as his lawyer, Shane Tait, told Judge Charles Blackie that he had not been given a hearing date for a High Court appeal against the judge’s ruling on Wednesday to allow the defendant’s name to be published.

The judge had said the concept of open justice was the principal issue and he would not suppress the man’s name.

An appeal was filed within an hour at Manukau District Court on Wednesday, meaning the name can not be published until the High Court hears the appeal. [NZ Herald 15/01/10]

Wow! Maybe judge Blackie’s been reading the Whale’s blog and is feeling the shitstorm pressure…

Thar’she’blows: police are whale-watching too, but a bit of intemperate spume flies from from Mr Slater’s hypehole.

I don’t think anyone would seriously think the plods are glued to Gotcha, won’t they just take a Twitter feed? However, such actions are manna to the righteous brigades who stand dorsal to dorsal with the Whale’s crusade.

It adds sweet sugar to their belief that the “system” is fc*ked and that justice grows from the barrel of a gun (in their righteous hands of course, not those pussy gotcha-watching cops).

Any port in a storm: Whale takes succour from the repeater press and in the comments thread an un-named  Hastings employer cops a bash for being stupid

Links to good commentary: credit where due, even to frenemies

Dodgy bullet dodge: In which our hero attempts to put the case for a defence of “I didn’t do it.”

In this post Whale sets out his argument about why he won’t be charged in the MP case. It boils down to reasoning that what he published was NOT a report of proceedings as defined by the Crimes Act,

That charge will be tossed out faster than you can blink because no-one, least of all David Collins, the lefty blogs and the media have realised that I did not break the law on the ex-MP case.

140 – Court may pro­hibit pub­li­ca­tion of names
Except as oth­er­wise expressly pro­vided in any enact­ment, a court may make an order pro­hibit­ing the pub­li­ca­tion, in any report or account relat­ing to any pro­ceed­ings in respect of an offence, of the name, address, or occu­pa­tion of the per­son accused or con­victed of the offence, or of any other per­son con­nected with the pro­ceed­ings, or any par­tic­u­lars likely to lead to any such person’s identification.

I didn’t do that. At all.

I personally don’t think he can win on that. It all depends on an interpretation of “any report or account” and the word “relating” to proceedings.  I think this line of arguing would fall under what Steven Price might describe as the “common myths” that people hold to about court reporting. His advice in Media Minefield is “Banish them from your head immediately.” (2007, p.223)

If, as it has been suggested, the coded post contained identifying information, who knows; Whale may escape a charge on that one. He could perhaps consider himself lucky (dodged a bullet?) because of the publicity. But in relation to the entertainer and the Olympian, I imagine this defence will be harder to mount.

Why no suppression? Like most, this reverts to type and the handwringers get a belting:

The lib­eral crim hug­gers have been cry­ing about vic­tim pro­tec­tion as the rea­son for name sup­pres­sion. TV3 also used some shrill lib­eral tart to explain exactly that the other night on the story about me.

The prob­lem is that their argu­ment is fal­la­cious and fails on an exam­i­na­tion of the facts.

Whale veers between the serious campaigner and the shrill polemicist. Entertaining, but not always enlightening. As we’ve been pointing out, suppressions occur regularly for  variety of reasons. In this case the alleged victim is over 16, so suppression is not automatic.

Another voice: farce continues

Conservative funnies: funny haha, or funny “peculiar?

A “sensible” sentence or two?

One that didn’t get away, or this one Which leads me to speculate that this teacup-sized storm is about celebrity and shame as punishment, rather than a crusade for law reform.

This just in:



“Fuck off”
I have The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and hold opinions without interference (Section 13) and The right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form”

Not sure that’s a defence.

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3 Responses to Name suppression: Hypothetical

  1. Whaleoil says:

    Enjoying your posts, I have added you to my Blogroll, though not quite sure where you need to be categorised…possibly Centre.

  2. Steven Price says:

    Re: Whale Oil’s “liberal crim-huggers” quote: actually, victims of the listed sex crimes do have their names automatically suppressed, even if they are over 16. (If they’re over 16, they can ask for an order overturning the suppression, though). The problem with Whale Oil’s comment is that it’s the victim’s name that’s suppressed, not the alleged offender’s. When naming the defendant doesn’t automatically identify the victim (as in the case he’s talking about), there’s no problem putting his name in a news story. That’s not the case, though, when it has already been publicly revealed that a sex victim is, say, a particular defendant’s daughter.

  3. […] The Whale is also publishing “interesting names on his Gotcha blog. They are mostly convicted and registered US sex offenders who have been arrested on serious charges in the last few days. The exception is Scott Ritter – former UN weapons inspector – who was recently arraigned on charges laid after a police online sting operation. […]

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