11 Dec 2009

Blogger could face action for identifying sportsman

8:21 pm on 11 December 2009

Legal action could be taken against a blogger who breached a suppression order identifying a New Zealand Olympian accused of multiple charges of rape and violence.

The District Court has banned the publishing or broadcast of any information that may lead to the sportsman being identified.

The blog claims it is challenging the validity of the suppression, linking it to debate about how easily such orders are made in New Zealand.

It invites the viewer to come up with the Olympian's name by interpreting a series of images.

The man's lawyer says he is seeking advice on what action to take over the blog.

An associate professor at the University of Canterbury's Law School says using images rather than directly naming the person does not get around the law.

Ursula Cheer says the law has always been challenged by technology, but bloggers need to grow up and act responsibly.

The accused sportsman faces four charges of rape, one abduction charge, one charge of unlawful sexual connection, five charges of assault, one of threatening to kill and one of threat of intent to injure.

Currently on bail, he will appear again in the Auckland District Court in January, and then the High Court in February. The charges are split between the two courts.