Name suppression for restaurant managers charged with worker exploitation

Lawyer says naming the trio would cause undue hardship.

Three people have appeared in the Auckland District Court facing charges alleging exploitation of migrant workers in the restaurant industry. 

The trio face 25 charges under the Immmigration Act and Crimes Act including charges punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment, a fine of $100,000 or both. 

The people – who are involved in the management of a restaurant chain – were arrested at their homes last week and appeared in court this morning. 

Their lawyer told the court that publication of their names would cause ''undue hardship'' and any financial difficulty the company faced as a result would put at risk the jobs of the workers who are still employed by the company. 

Media opposed the name suppression but Community Magistrate Jan Holmes has allowed secrecy until the next hearing in May. 

One of the defendants faces a total of 14 charges, including exploitation and conspiracy charges relating to three migrant workers, aiding and abetting a person to remain unlawfully in New Zealand and supplying false and misleading information to an immigration officer.

Another of the defendants faces five charges, including exploitation charges relating to two workers and aiding and abetting two workers to either breach their visa conditions, or remain in New Zealand unlawfully.

The third defendant faces six charges relating to one worker, including forgery and supplying false and misleading information to an immigration officer.

As part of their bail conditions the three defendants have to surrender their passports. 

vyoung@nbr.co.nz