Name to be known after judge gets suppression wrong

District court judge Heather Simpson got it wrong when she suppressed the name of a previously-identified man facing 62 fraud charges.Unless the 54-year property developer gets a further suppression order, his name will be made public at 5 pm on Friday, Justice Geoff Venning ruled today in the High Court at Auckland.The judge upheld an appeal by the Serious Fraud Office against continued suppression of the man's name.

District court judge Heather Simpson got it wrong when she suppressed the name of a previously-identified man facing 62 fraud charges.

Unless the 54-year property developer gets a further suppression order, his name will be made public at 5 pm on Friday, Justice Geoff Venning ruled today in the High Court at Auckland.

The judge upheld an appeal by the Serious Fraud Office against continued suppression of the man’s name.

Interim suppression was continued until Friday to give the man and his lawyers an opportunity to consider their position. The man is due to go on trial in mid-2011.

Justice Venning said that when Judge Simpson suppressed the man’s name, she erred in law when she took into account an irrelevant issue – the man’s claim he had been intimidated.

Justice Venning said the intimidation issue was unrelated to publication of the man’s name, as a ground to support suppression.

Judge Simpson was plainly wrong in determining, in a case where there had been previous publicity instigated by the man, to make an order for name suppression, Justice Venning ruled.

NBR recently reported a commercial case involving the release of two caveats lodged by the man over Auckland properties and Justice Venning noted the man was involved in litigation with a number of other parties.

The man’s alleged offending related to his part in obtaining about $50 million as a result of hydraulicing of property values and prices, false sale and purchase agreements, inflated agreements and allegations of forgery.

Defence lawyer Gary Gotlieb told Justice Venning last Friday, the principal offender – identified in court documents as Simon Lawrence Wood Turnbull, who once had matching Aston Martins – had “done a runner,” leaving his client in the lurch.

Detailed reporting of Justice Venning’s decision was constrained by the continued suppression.