To Our Readers In New Zealand: Judge David Harvey Doesn't Want You To Know The Names Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata

Law

And I know we have a few of you. Kindly buy a copy of tomorrow's (today's? – I don't know what time you upside down people are on) New Zealand Herald. Find the story which will be published about "two men charged with murder" whose names Judge David Harvey has ruled cannot be published on the web. Then email those names to me at this address (which I've removed as I have the information I need).

A judge has today taken the unprecedented step of banning news websites from naming two men charged with murder while allowing newspapers, radio stations and TV networks to reveal who they are.

Judge David Harvey said online media could not use the names, or publish images of the accused, to prevent the public searching for the information when the case comes to trial.

He said he was "concerned about someone Googling someone's name and being able to access it later".

He was also "concerned about the viral effect of digital publication".

Judge Harvey ruled in Manukau District Court that it was OK to report the names and publish the images in print tomorrow or on tonight's 6pm television news but not on news websites.

With all due respect to The Honorable Judge David Harvey, fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

I will publish those names, with the caution that the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

I live in America, which has plenty of problems (believe me) but where this abuse of our shared heritage of English liberty could not happen. I promise you that I will not reveal your name, or email address, or in any way identify you. I am an attorney, and am competent to quash any subpoena that may come from any kangaroo court in New Zealand, which I never plan to visit, and which has no personal jurisdiction over me. If I am wrong about these assertions, which I am not, I will gladly serve time in a New Zealand jail with the Maoris and the Tuataras and the Hobbits, rather than reveal your name.

Via.

Update: I am informed by multiple sources that the accused are named Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata. A third suspect could not be named by print sources because he is a teenager. All are of course presumed innocent unless proven guilty, and you should take nothing from this publication of information over the web, except that Judge David Harvey is a censorious asshat.

Second Update: Welcome Instapundit readers. Please feel free to explore around a bit. We are, as the top of the page says, a group blog of games, politics, humor, and snark, with a bit of law from a practitioner's perspective (depending on the practitioner, white collar criminal defense or insurance coverage and personal injury and construction litigation) thrown in.

And thanks to Instapundit for the link.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

27 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Ken  •  Aug 25, 2008 @4:14 pm

    Oh, yeah. It's ON.

  2. Ken  •  Aug 25, 2008 @4:15 pm

    And by the way, the process some censorious twit in black robes down in NZ would have to follow to try to get anything from us (probably an MLAT or a letter rogatory) is so burdensome and ridiculous that it would be fun to watch him try.

  3. Ken  •  Aug 25, 2008 @4:16 pm

    Although I do wonder if this is going to wind up like that Simpsons episode where Bart gets sentenced to the boot.

  4. Ansley  •  Aug 25, 2008 @4:17 pm

    Patrick, you are my hero of the week!

  5. TJIC  •  Aug 26, 2008 @5:18 am

    Nicely done! I had contemplated doing the same thing, before you did it, but the genius is not in the idea, it's in actually executing – which you did.

    Hats off!

  6. Dr. Dave  •  Aug 26, 2008 @6:39 am

    OK, now how can friends of freedom of speech in the Antipodes help circumvent the ridiculous campaign finance regulations in the U.S?

  7. Fabozz  •  Aug 26, 2008 @7:25 am

    And *poof*, just like that, this page is already the very first hit when you Google either gentleman's name. (You can thank Instapundit's thumb on the PageRank scale for that.)

  8. Stuart  •  Aug 26, 2008 @7:41 am

    I think it would be fun to get Judge Harvey's email address and keep sending him links to websites like this one and emails that specifically mention the names Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata. Then watch him try to assert jurisdiction over us in the US.

    Thank heavens for the First Amendment. It's the only thing standing between us and jerks like that judge.

  9. Laika's Last Woof  •  Aug 26, 2008 @8:50 am

    LMAO … that idiot judge just turned these two former unknowns into the latest "09 F9".

  10. jack burton  •  Aug 26, 2008 @9:30 am

    Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata.
    Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata.
    Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata.
    Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata.
    Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata.
    Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata.
    Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata.

    Bugger off, Harvey. You are not even worthy of being addressed as a judge.

  11. Watchmanz  •  Aug 28, 2008 @6:24 pm

    The names and photo of the accused were on this website within a couple of hours – they simply scanned a NZ Herald photograph and posted the image.

    http://www.nutterz.com/nutterz/index.php?showtopic=77698

  12. John  •  Aug 29, 2008 @12:35 pm

    Well done Patrick.
    Failed lawyers often become judges in New Zealand.

  13. Steven Price  •  Sep 1, 2008 @4:59 pm

    Um, since the judge has allowed publication in newspapers and on TV, these aren't exactly "the names David Harvey doesn't want you to know".

    As you'd know if you read the judgment, the judge was worried that jurors – the trial is probably a year away, so they haven't been picked yet – would google the names and find lots of distorted and prejudicial material about them posted on blogs and perhaps in media archives. The jurors, by the way, will be looking at the defendants. They will know what they look like. They will know their names. So, they'll know the names, and google them, and find your site, and presto! They'll find out their names. Oh, wait…

    I'm a media lawyer in New Zealand, and I've criticised Judge Harvey's decision here: http://www.medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=150

    But you're wrong if you think you're undermining the point of his order by posting the names and images here.

    By the way, are you going to be posting the names of sex crime victims? They're also suppressed by law in New Zealand.

  14. Patrick  •  Sep 1, 2008 @7:16 pm

    What images would those be Steven?

    You may be a media lawyer, but you're wrong if you think that the point of this post was to undermine the judge's order by allowing jurors to google the defendant's names. The point of this post was to undermine the judge's order by circumventing his selective censorship of one medium of information, the internet, in favor of dead, non-interactive media like newspapers and television news that only fossils and relics use. The advantage of this medium, as opposed to the non-interactive media is obvious: Information flows in all directions, from us to you and others, and back to us. A highly trained media lawyer like you can come here to discuss this post and debate the issues it raises, no matter how misconceived your effort. As you fail to note, this post asserts the presumption of innocence, and passes not at all on the substance of the case, only on Judge Harvey's censorship. Prospective jurors will know the names of both defendants the instant the judge asks them, "Do you know either of the defendants?" You well may be a media lawyer. You're certainly not a litigator.

    By the way, how do you analogize a sex crime victim to a murder defendant? I understand that New Zealand censors both sets of names by law (at least in Judge Harvey's court) but otherwise the analogy falls flat. I don't see the similarity, to be honest. Nonetheless, we have published the name of one alleged sex crime victim here, Crystal Gail Mangum, because Ms. Mangum's story, and name, made worthwhile political discussion.

    I'm sorry that your little country feels that its little citizens can't be trusted to discuss that sort of information, among themselves and without courts and the gatekeeper media filtering their information, like responsible adults.

  15. Steven Price  •  Sep 2, 2008 @12:21 am

    Can't say I really get your point about judges asking whether jurors know the defendant. Seems pretty similar to my point: the only people who will find your site by Googling the names are those who already know them.

    So anyway, that's a fine blow for freedom of expression you're striking. The reason I mentioned the sex crime victims is that your high-fiving about ignoring the judge's order (which of course you're perfectly free to do) also seems to apply to them. Can there never be good reasons for suppressing names?

    By the way, NZ doesn't censor murderers' names, though judges do occasionally exercise a discretion to suppress criminal defendants' names, usually only temporarily. For what it's worth, I think they do it too often.

    As long as you're going to bag on NZ's free speech laws, I might ask you how you feel about your country's repressive TV standards (apparently Americans can't be trusted not to wig out if they see a nipple), its ridiculous film censorship regime, its hopeless FOI system (apparently, Americans can't be trusted to see pictures of flag-draped coffins), its inadequate recognition of newsgathers' priviliege, and its hopelessly intricate libel laws. You might also like to explain why NZ routinely features in the top 10 in the world's two leading rankings of press freedom and the US routinely finishes much lower…

  16. Ken  •  Sep 2, 2008 @1:01 am

    Does NZ permit papers to print the names of sex assault victims, and only ban internet sites from printing them? If so, that might be a closer point. Patrick made it perfectly clear that what was silly and offensive about this order was its fatuous new media/old media distinction.

  17. Patrick  •  Sep 2, 2008 @4:16 am

    As for your first point Steven, the primary means by which New Zealanders and others came to this post via search engine last week was not by searching for the defendants' names. It was through searching for "Judge David Harvey," "New Zealand Judge suppression," "New Zealand Judge censor," and the like. Then they knew the names of the defendants.

    It would appear that the judge in question, for all his reputation as an expert in "cyber-law," doesn't understand much about human behavior on the internet. Had he not issued his perverse and numb-headed order, this would have been a case of interest in a small section of the Shire only. On the evidence of this case only, I have to conclude that Judge Harvey is a terrible judge. As an attorney, you should know that, among other things, a judge's job (when he isn't making up law out of whole cloth as this judge apparently likes to do) is to promote respect for the law. Among other things, that means not issuing silly orders which beg to be undermined, and which people will want to undermine. A number of your fellow citizens did want to undermine this order, and this judge, and for good reason. Now he has brought contempt upon his own court (google his name and title if you don't believe me – we're number one!), and more importantly, in small measure upon the law of New Zealand. He has revealed the man behind the curtain, to take a metaphor from an obscure foreign film.

    As for your parochial pride in your country's standing among press NGOs, sic semper newbis. I disapprove of many of the problems you mention in American law, but am free to criticize them and to speak my mind regardless of the whims of one addlepated judge. We do discuss the issues you raise here, and often. One of the problems raised by visiting a blog with which you're unfamiliar to leave a comment under the assumption that you have all of the answers and are here only to educate and tweak the locals is that you're not part of the community, and don't know what's on the locals' minds.

    But in the end, I'm none too concerned about my fellow citizens' attitudes toward a nipple, but very concerned when the name of a defendant, civil or criminal, cannot even be published and debated. As an expert in media law and a supporter of freedom of speech, the names Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams and Daniel Bobby Tumata should be of as much importance to you as that of Jose Padilla, or Alfred Dreyfus.

  18. Eric  •  Sep 2, 2008 @5:09 pm

    In defence of Steven Price's various replies, I would note that he is not actually attacking your decision to publish names on the internet. Rather he is challenging your assumption that by doing so you are making some resounding blow against censorship.

    And as for Patrick's aspersions against "fossils and relics" who use non-interactive media (and incidentally make the laws, rules and decisions), AND your personal attacks on New Zealand and someone who doesn't agree with you, you are just showing your age and immaturity. Flames like that reflect poorly on the writer and discourage the freedom of speech that you purportedly support.

    Finally, to make my position clear on this – I think the good judge made a misjudgment (like all humans do) and that the silly distinction was in poor taste and was counterproductive. Kudos to you for exposing how ridiculous that order was.

  19. Ken  •  Sep 2, 2008 @5:17 pm

    Patrick is as self-impressed as it is possible to be in North Carolina, a state where they use shiny bits of metal and murky ponds instead of mirrors. But I'm pretty sure even he wouldn't argue that something posted here is a resounding blow against anything. It's just someone talking on their blog.

    As to Patrick's aspersions: I read a few years ago a comment, and I really wish I could find the source so that I could attribute it. The comment was this: every instance of irony, satire, and sarcasm can be seen as a private joke between the writer and the reader at the expense of a hypothetical third person, a dupe who takes the language at literal value. Of course, sometimes the third person is not hypothetical.

  20. Patrick  •  Sep 2, 2008 @5:41 pm

    Shut up Ken. My posts, and my comments, are solipsistic jokes at the expense of those who read or respond.

    Sometimes my wife laughs at these people too. All other parties, especially you, are interlopers.

  21. --mii bussiness--  •  Sep 7, 2008 @12:07 am

    waht daah fuuk! guess waaht did you noe nathan williams hasnt made a statement he hasnt put in a plea and he hasnt even said anything to anyone so hu the fuuk is anyone to say shit about him? so until the trial ( wea hopefully all will be said ) you can peace owt, chill AND MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSSINESS!

  22. --mii bussiness--  •  Sep 7, 2008 @12:11 am

    by the way your so immature.. leave the dam judge alone!

    YAFA!

  23. Patrick  •  Sep 7, 2008 @4:20 am

    I see that someone has linked to this story at the Octopus Overlords forum.

  24. Ram  •  Oct 21, 2008 @1:54 am

    I have a similar case that happened in Manukau District Court, in this case Judge was Blackie, he wrote a Judgment against the Copyright Law of NZ and international Copyright, I am still fighting to get the Judgment right after 2005

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