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No punishment for Herald's name suppression breach

Saying sorry allowed the New Zealand Herald to escape punishment for breaching suppression last week in a story about an attempted murder.

Herald editor-in-chief Tim Murphy and chief reporter Stuart Dye appeared in the High Court on Friday morning within hours of the breach to explain the paper's action to Justice Rebecca Ellis.

On Friday morning the paper, in print and in its online edition, identified schizophrenic man Jason Harvey and also published a photograph of one of his victims, both of which were suppressed at the time.

Although the photograph of one of the victims – which shows the stitches on the top of the head  – did not identify him, Justice Ellis says its publication was in breach of the "spirit" of the order.

Harvey's name suppression has since been lifted.

Adding to the interest in the breach is the fact the reporter credited with writing the story, highly regarded investigative journalist Jared Savage, is living and working in Cambridge, England, according to his Twitter feed, and has been for some weeks - such is the reach of journalism without borders.

A hearing had earlier been scheduled to rule on whether Harvey's name suppression should continue.

Crown solicitor Kirsten Lummis told NBR ONLINE the suppression breach appeared to be a genuine mistake.

The infringing article named Harvey towards the end of the story, and included a paragraph at the beginning of the story explaining the suppression order on his name.

Ms Lummis says this indicates the breach was not deliberate.

Justice Ellis invited the Crown to make submissions on what censure or punishment should apply to the Herald.

Ms Lummis says the Crown decided not to pursue the matter further after the Herald made an apology to the family of the victims. 

More by Caleb Allison

Comments and questions
2

"Sorry?"

Where is this, Canada?

Crime and punishment, it appears that it has been forgotten, go hand in hand. Perhaps this is an extension of the no smacking rules?