Politics

Andrew Little’s plea to British media

Justice Minister Andrew Little has urged international media to respect the interim name suppression granted to the man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane. 

New Zealand media are prohibited from naming the accused and New Zealand police last night took to social media urging users to respect the suppression order. 

But several British media outlets have decided to ignore the suppression order and name the man. 

“The international media and particularly the British media are not helping the Millane family, if the British media are concerned about justice and justice for the Millane family they should stop publishing details,” Little said.

He said it was possible the media’s decision could interfere with the trial, as the accused's lawyers would be looking for “every opportunity to say fair trial rights might be compromised”.

The case has raised questions about how effective name suppression is in the age of the internet, particularly in a case of such international interest. 

Little said New Zealand courts could not enforce suppression internationally. 

The British media have themselves raised questions about the international effectiveness of name suppression after a celebrity was able to secure an injunction against being named in salacious stories about their personal life.

Those stories were blocked from British websites, but widely available internationally.

Opposition leader Simon Bridges, himself a former Crown prosecutor, added his voice to concerns today. He said he didn’t have a view on reforming suppression laws, but that he would consider a proposal if it was put to him. 

“It’s a valid point to make, ultimately in cases like this it becomes an inevitability, they’re so high profile, there is so much interest,” he said.

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