George represented his client who appeared for a charge of assault on a female.
The defendant stood before the court with the victim, whereby the Police Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo asked approval of the court for the matter to be discharged.
Defence counsel Norman George said both parties have reconciled, are responsible citizens and have put their differences aside. George represented the man who was charged for assaulting a female and asked that name suppressions continue.
JP Whitta objected to this and said the two have been granted justice by the prosecution and this needs to be public. JP Whitta said he could not see a reason for permanent name suppression.
George said the charge was withdrawn and his client’s name can’t be published.
JP Whitta said this is an open court and did not see what the exceptional circumstances were as it is part of the law and process in court.
“People come they have charges laid against them and then it is withdrawn. It happens every single week, there is nothing different about it, nothing different about these cases, as opposed to the one I saw a week before, nothing in this case is exceptional.
George said an acquittal, or withdrawal, in his view is exceptional.
“It is a Constitutional right for a man who’s never had a conviction against him and in this instant doesn’t face a conviction, the court will tarnish that reputation by allowing the name to be published. He should remain untarnished, untouched. This is exceptional.”
JP Whiita replied: “I don’t mind getting appealed. Name suppression permanently must be exceptional and we grant people with charges with no name suppression all the time. There is nothing different about this. All those people are charged and withdrawn. There must be some exceptional sufficient ground and I can’t see it.
“Name suppression is a privilege not a right, they got justice, otherwise everybody will come into this court with name suppression.”
George took the advice of his client and said he would file an appeal subject to the name suppression.
The police prosecution did not agree to name suppression.
JP Whitta said the defendants have been given the full benefit of the legal system and the community is entitled to know who has received this benefit. He adjourned the matter denying permanent name suppression, but allowing interim name suppression until then.
George is to file the appeal in two weeks’ time, in time for the High Court sessions in May.