Names of accused in John Hapeta murder case
Judge Harvey's internet suppression order lacks credibility and probably lacks empirical evidence too. The suspect's names will be mentioned repeatedly on news radio and talkback, where people will talk about them. If Harvey wanted to stop jurors searching for information on the suspects via the internet then surely he knows that -
a. they will anyway, and
b. internet publication is now inevitable - a form of media has been treated differently and unfairly. That media is vocal and anarchistic and now it has a legitimate injustice issue to right.
Harvey further assumes a judge's direction to the jury is weaker than a judge's direction to the internet community. Why else would he have made the order? We all know he has it the wrong way round.
People will now go out of their way to snub their nose at his Honour's unique order. This is his pet thing and he's probably doing it as a grand exercise in guaranteeing a second edition of his internet law textbook.
The mainstream press and broadcasters also offer extensive websites that are now being compromised. Their lawyers are standing by. NZ Herald:
Judge Harvey teaches the Law and Information Technology course at the University of Auckland. The course looks at the way technology impacts on evidence, jurisdiction and freedom of information.
Judge Harvey has also written a textbook on the internet and law called internet.law.nz.
Judge Harvey reportedly said that he was "concerned about someone Googling someone's name and being able to access it later". He was also "concerned about the viral effect of digital publication".
Law Commission President Sir Geoffrey Palmer said today that the order would affect a commission study into name suppression.
"It will have to be taken into account ... this is a very interesting development from the point of view of our project."
He had never heard of such an order before, but suspected it was to do with the huge rise of "googling", which jurors could potentially do at home on nights of the trial.
Perhaps this is Judge Harvey's curious way of drawing the internet's attention to a tragedy that has become almost unremarkable - the seemingly senseless death of a 14 year old in South Auckland. All we can legally report, apparently, about the alleged killers are they are male and aged 23 and 21.
What is it about these guys the judge doesn't want us to know or discuss? His actions beg that question. I am sure many will answer it - out of outrage. I mean I can sit here and see it on teletext on one screen and I can listen to it on radio but I can't just type the names in. This seems rather foolish.