Whaleoil harpooned and found guilty of breaching suppression orders
Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater guilty
Controversial blogger Cameron Slater has been convicted of illegally identifying several high profile New Zealanders protected by name suppression orders.
Slater has been an advocate of name suppression law reform, claiming the secrecy protection is given far too easily by the courts, particularly to politicians, sports stars and media celebrities.
This afternoon at the Auckland District Court he was convicted of eight counts of breaching name suppression orders and one count of identifying a victim in a sex case on his Whale Oil blog.
One charge of breaching name suppression orders was dismissed by Judge David Harvey today.
He was fined $750 for each count, a total amount to $6250, and ordered to pay $130 court costs for each charge.
This afternoon Judge Harvey delivered a verbal judgement to the court, first pausing to hand out a disk to Slater containing his findings in PDF format.
"I know his penchant for things digital".
Judge Harvey said the case was not the opportunity to debate whether certain suppression orders should have been granted.
"The behaviour alleged was that the defendant Mr Slater breached non publication orders from various cases form the district court and in one case the high court."
Judge Harvey said the internet made everyone a publisher and with that came responsibility.
"One of those responsibilities is to abide by the law. You have chosen to use your website, blog for the purposes of a political campaign and that is absolutely legitimate.I have no quibble with that.
"But the fact of the matter is you stepped over the lines when you chose to publish names subject to non-publication orders.
"You made value judgements about the names you were going to publish and those you were not.
"You set yourself up as a judge and jury knowing those names were subject to orders but willing to flout the law notwithstanding.
"I don't imagine anything which happens today or is about to happen today will change your point of view but I hope it will change your behaviour."
There was just no way he was going to walk from this, and the $7000 fine is a hard smack from the Court stamping it's authority online. Cam will be on this weeks Citizen A, 7pm Thursday Triangle TV for the autopsy reaction and what this ruling means for the wider blogosphere.