Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Cameron Slater (aka Whale Oil) in hot water again [update 2]

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

_quote 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.


  1. I have no form of agreement with Whaleoil on his program of 'outing'.

    Ignoring the right or wrong of each case, just because technology makes something possible, doesn't make it right.

    As a freedom lover I understand how freedom is still most definitely founded on the rule of law, and Whaleoil is here just a rabble vigilante as far as I'm concerned.

    An individual is innocent until proven guilty, and until proven guilty in a court of law - one of the few valid functions of a minarchy - that individual's identity is none of the publics damned business.

    The movement toward a free society is amongst other things a movement toward privacy. Whaleoil continues to put himself firmly at best in the gossipers and old hags court, at worst the fascists of the worst sort.

    Not impressed.

  2. Agree mark. Why bloggers continue to empower and encourage this troubled man in his silly exploits I don't know.

    And he should be Sectioned, not arrested.

  3. Calm down Ruth. There shouldn't be any name suppression at all in this country, because it is a farce, regardless if the accused is found guilty or innocent at the end. Having name suppression invites the preferential treatment of who gets a name suppression and who doesn't. The US is a good example of no name suppression.

  4. Hi Peter

    I've put my retort to your updated retort :) on that other thread. It's seems to have disappeared into the ether though - hope it comes back.

    If it does, I'll link to here. If it doesn't, I don't have the time to redo (I back arrowed to try and get it back, but the page had expired).

  5. Nat Supporter

    I know a school principle that will differ from your opinion.

    School girl lied, he got charged with rape, she withdrew the charge, but he is still out of a job and a career. If only he could have gone to court anonymously, but now he will always have the stigma as being "accused of rape".

    There is such a thing as a court of public opinion, and they do not hold by the same rules of evidence.

    If you were accused of dealing in child pornography (falsely of course) would you still sing the whale's praises if he outs you to your peers?

    Obviously name suppression after a conviction should go, but we should not punish the innocent with guilt by association.

  6. Oh, and nat supporter, show me your dedication to eradicating name suppression and post under your real name. ;-)

  7. And your name really is Dolf?

  8. Are you Dolf who?

    I come to think of Dolf Hitler. Is your last name Hitler? Just fess up, because there aren't any Israeli Mossad agents reading this blog so they have no chance of hunting you down.

  9. "...there aren't any Israeli Mossad agents reading this blog..."

    Are you sure?

  10. Eli Cohen, I thought that the Syrian intelligence service agents executed you long time ago?

    Was that a cover story?

  11. Nat,

    Funny stuff man, but on a more serious note, care to answer my arguments?


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