25 Sep 2015

Number gaining name suppression drops

11:44 am on 25 September 2015

The number of cases where the courts keep people's names secret are dropping off, three years since rules on granting name suppression were toughened up.

Wellington High Court

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

New legislation governing how name suppression is applied came into force in March 2012, under the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.

Since the beginning of July 2010, the number of people being granted permanent name suppression has gone down by 347.

The most significant fall over that period was for people before the courts on theft charges - dropping by 77.

Name suppression on public order offences fell by 73 and for crime causing injury by 68.

However, the number of people granted interim suppression has has changed less, decreasing by only 69.

Law Society spokesperson Jonathan Krebs said the bar had been set too high, with a defendant now having to show they would suffer extreme hardship if their name was not suppressed.

"I think that's too tough, but it comes down to, I suppose, what actually is extreme.

"And we're fortunate that it leaves a little bit of wriggle room for judges to look at individual circumstances and put their own interpretation of it."

The figures were released to Radio New Zealand from the Ministry of Justice under the Official Information Act from.

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