Cameron Slater (aka Whale Oil) is in hot water again for naming someone before the courts. The argument being floated today is that since the “high profile public servant” named by Slater has been found not guilty, Slater’s naming constitutes grounds for arrest.
Yet as Cameron himself points out, the not-guilty verdict on a claim the man assaulted his son looks to have been delivered based on a very interesting wrinkle indeed in Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking law.
And as as Lindsay Mitchell points out, the public concern expressed by the man’s lawyer is pretty much an own goal.
UPDATE 1: Since I’ve already argued before about the nonsense of name suppression, I’ll simply link rather than argue anew.
UPDATE 2: Lawyer Stephen Franks argues “there may be a few grounds for suppressing the name of people charged with crime,” and lists four reasons with which I’d concur. Those aside, however, “open justice must be restored, from the time of charging.” This decision, says Franks, is
another inexcusable intrusion on free speech and the principle that justice should be delivered in open courts, where we can form our own views about whether it is without fear or favour according to rank and connections…
“I feel ashamed that I will not publicly disclose who this acquitted man is, to help make unworkable the continuation of this offense to our liberties. I'll not put myself and my license to be a lawyer at risk . Many heroes who secured our liberties did risk all to get free speech and open justice.
“But there is something I can do. Whale Oil is standing up for the principle. Despite often finding his language and expression gratuitously unpleasant, I can help make the point by reducing his personal cost of standing up for the rest of us. We who are too careful can salve our consciences with contributions. If we make it plain that fines and other penalties will just attract mass support, eventually our would-be masters will have to accept the loss of their current power to suppress.
I'll find out the account we can contribute to and provide the link for others who want to contribute.”
And so shall I.