Permanent name suppression for top professionalSave
By Jimmy Ellingham
A top Wellington professional who assaulted his partner will keep his name secret after successfully applying to the courts for permanent suppression.
The man was discharged without conviction on a count of assault with intent to injure, something that can attract a three-year jail term.
This means the man's offending will not blacken his record, a decision labelled "problematic" by the Women's Refuge chief executive Ang Jury.
"Assault with intent to injure is actually pretty full-on stuff and it's not the sort of charge that police lay lightly," Dr Jury said.
"It shouldn't make any difference what your position in the community was."
The Wellington District Court heard today that the man's partner supported his bid for suppression, because of the detrimental effect naming him would have on her.
Dr Jury said such a stance was pretty common.
"By and large it's more a matter of: 'This is the man I love. This is the father of my children. This is going to have dreadful impacts upon me and the kids', and they try and make it right.
"Sometimes it actually is OK. Sometimes they do manage to make a change. Sometimes they don't and we see them back again."
The man wasn't in court today as his lawyer, Christopher Stevenson, handed Judge Peter Hobbs a letter from the man's workplace management.
The judge said the man pleaded guilty to the assault with intent to injure charge and was discharged without conviction last month.
He applied for strict orders suppressing his name, occupation and any identifying factors, orders imposed today by Judge Hobbs.
"The grounds advanced in relation to this application is undue hardship to the defendant's partner - the victim of the offending," Judge Hobbs said.
The man's partner also mentioned the effects her children could suffer should his name be published.
"I'm satisfied there's a real risk to undue hardship to the defendant's partner if his name was to be published. She clearly does not want that to occur and is strong in support of suppression being granted on a permanent basis.
"I would note that at this stage the police do not oppose the defendant's application for permanent name suppression," the judge said.
He said the starting point of his decision must be open justice, but that had to be balanced with the interests of the man and his partner and the seriousness of the offending.
"In this case I'm satisfied the interest of the public in knowing the identity of the defendant is outweighed by the particular interests of his partner and their children," Judge Hobbs said.
When asked if action is taken against employees discharged without conviction, a spokeswoman from the man's workplace said: "Such matters would be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis, so general speculation would not be appropriate.
"When hiring, [the workplace] requires applicants to indicate whether or not they have a criminal record and consent to a criminal records check being conducted before being employed."
A spokesman for the industry body representing the man's profession said it would not be notified of the court case if there was no conviction.
Such notifications were made if someone was convicted of an offence where the maximum penalty was three months in jail or more.