Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: So-called celebrity justice

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  • mark taslov,

    illiterate.

    literate...

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Clarke,

    From the Herald article:

    The gossip grapevine is circumventing name suppression laws surrounding a prominent New Zealand entertainer's indecency charge, according to a sample of the public spoken to by nzherald.co.nz today.

    What they didn't put in their article:

    "And the Herald is helping to grow that gossip grapevine by piling on the manure."

    Reporting the news that you're helping to create seems just a little bit weird to my mind.

    EDIT: I think I meant to say 'perpetuating the grapevine and then reporting that the grapevine is growing seems weird.' :)

    -36.76, 174.61 or thereab… • Since Nov 2006 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    There are some awesome offences still on the books - denying or impugning the validity of a marriage is among my favourites.

    Go on, Graeme. Do a post on your top 10 anachronisms still on the NZ statutes. A little ridicule goes a long way.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Clarke,

    It gets worse in the Video where they have cleverly censored the name of the entertainer with a blank screen and the words SUPPRESSED!

    I despair.

    -36.76, 174.61 or thereab… • Since Nov 2006 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer,

    With all the attention given to the actual name here, what I'm wondering is how the TV networks were able to get away with airing clearly recognisable footage of him entering the courtroom. They blurred the face in the most token way, but not nearly enough for you not to be able to see who it was.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    It's called a farce Michael.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Siu,

    Normal is overrated btw.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 74 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It gets worse in the Video where they have cleverly censored the name of the entertainer with a blank screen and the words SUPPRESSED!

    I suppose if someone said "why don't you go away and find a real story to report instead of standing around asking random strangers what they think?" it wouldn't make the cut.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    What they didn't put in their article:

    "And the Herald is helping to grow that gossip grapevine by piling on the manure."

    It seems to me that what The Herald is doing is a more disingenuous attempt to have it both ways. The "gossip grapevine" is a very very bad thing, but if it (or Investigate Magazine or some politician throwing privileged muck across the floor of the House) will provide a figleaf of a rationale to spread the shit a little further. Well, who are they to decline the gift? I don't recall who said it, it's true that when The New York Times cites the National Inquirer as a source in a front page political story, then its time to turn off the life support and declare the media officially brain dead.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    An entertainer, we know that much.

    "performing an indecent act with intent to insult", discharged without conviction?

    Chocolate fish, caller number ten, the phones are open... now.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Because getting consensual blowjobs in alleyways is the norm.
    Not yet, but I'm willing to put my body on the line to make it so.

    Otherwise where's the incentive to be a well known entertainer?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Is it 'objective alienation' if I utterly fail to try to find out who you are all talking about, because it's subject to name suppression?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    paid reparations

    Has he? I’d heard that he still hadn’t paid.

    If a leading moral campaigner is convicted of a reasonably serious offence then that's something that the public have a right to know about. The same is also true of those who seek public office

    But not a celebrity? Why not? Why should they be treated differently to someone who did the same thing who was, say, a bus driver?

    On the other hand, the son or daughter of a celebrity or politician or even of a morals campaigner are just who they are and can't help being who they are.

    But we’re talking about someone described as a celebrity or entertainer in their own right.

    Ultimately, the complaints about special treatment for celebrities is somewhat tautologous - media interest in them derives from their status and absent that status there would be no interest and, in turn, no reason or justificaiton for suppressing their name.

    It seems to me that it is your (and Russell’s) argument is the one with logical problems. I agree with “live by the sword, die by the sword”. If one is a celebrity largely because of media attention, then you cannot hide behind that point as a reason not to have your name made public in the same way as anyone else would have given the same crime. If one is not that much of a celeb, then what is the basis of the suppression request?

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    And, finally: A DISCUSSION ABOUT NAME SUPPRESSION IS NOT AN INVITATION OR EXCUSE TO BREACH SUCH SUPPRESSION. IF YOU VALUE THIS WEBSITE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT BREACH AN ORDER OR TRY AND BE CLEVER IN A WAY THAT MIGHT LEAD TO A NAME BEING DISCOVERED.

    But I really want to know who it is! Anyone got John Key's mobile? I'll give him a bell and ask...

    I disagree with name suppression (unless it relates to the victim). Clearly in this case it does not. As to the "stars" future work prospects - perhaps he should have thought of that before he did what he did. End of story.

    Since Jun 2007 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Questions: do Aussie and US immigration get informed of convictions, regardless of name suppression?
    Or are their embassies able to pass on accurate rumour to the home authorities (presumably having diplomatic immunity).
    And would the fact that someone was refused admission to an overseas state because of a suppressed conviction itself be suppressed?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    But not a celebrity? Why not? Why should they be treated differently to someone who did the same thing who was, say, a bus driver?

    If a bus driver is convicted of a minor offence, his passengers aren't going to connect a three line story in the court pages with the guy driving their bus, so he isn't going to be unfairly impacted by its publication. Most of the embarrassment he faces will be confined to his social circle. His private misdeeds are effectively cordoned off from his public employment.

    A celebrity's social circle is, on the other hand, defined as anyone who knows who they are. Most celebrities actually make money from being known by a wide number of people-that's how they get people to consume their art and come to their shows. The distinction between what they do in private and what their job is vanishes-so publication of a minor offence is going to have a significant impact on their ability to do their job, and potentially impact their future earnings in a major way.

    The two situations just aren't comparable, any more than it would be comparable to start publishing the names of children who go through the youth court just because we do so for adults. Context matters in a fundamental way.

    Besides, a bus driver won't make front page news for things that a celebrity will.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 846 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Is it more likely that a celebrity will be caught someplace in public with his dick out? Or just more likely he'll be reported?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Andre - not every non-celebrity is a bus driver. You would be surprised how many employers operating in a professional capacity would have it written into an employment contract that if you were to break the law in such a manner as the case in question that you would be dismissed.

    You do the crime, you do the time.

    Since Jun 2007 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's a relief to find some dissenting opinion:

    @Steve

    But not a celebrity? Why not? Why should they be treated differently to someone who did the same thing who was, say, a bus driver?

    It's evident that they will be treated differently. The bus driver will go to work the next day. He won't be all over the papers and high up in the TV news.

    It seems to me that it is your (and Russell’s) argument is the one with logical problems. I agree with “live by the sword, die by the sword”.

    Wow. Harsh. So if you happen to work in a branch of the arts that might occasionally be reported on you've "lived by the sword"?

    If one is a celebrity largely because of media attention,

    That's quite an assumption to make, actually. I don't believe the person concerned has ever done "celebrity things" or courted publicity purely on the basis of personal fame. People who work in the arts do actually work to become known for their work.

    then you cannot hide behind that point as a reason not to have your name made public in the same way as anyone else would have given the same crime. If one is not that much of a celeb, then what is the basis of the suppression request?

    Being able to travel easily, for one. But it's clear now that you don't have to be "that much of a celeb" to be front page news if you fuck up.

    To be honest, I know a couple of things about the case that may have been an influence on the judge's decisions on the discharge and the suppression, but obviously can't and won't discuss them here. You may care to note that, unusually, police did not oppose the suppression order.

    @Rik

    I disagree with name suppression (unless it relates to the victim). Clearly in this case it does not. As to the "stars" future work prospects - perhaps he should have thought of that before he did what he did. End of story.

    Well, he didn't think about it, clearly. He was very drunk and went down an alley with a couple of young women to get a blow job in the middle of the night, and appears to have drunkenly believed their friend was joining in too. It's pretty gross.

    But the offence with which he was eventually charged took place in the course of about 10 seconds. If, indeed, it was to ruin the rest of his life, that would be quite a punishment.

    But in the end, my concern is much more that the news media can, through the kind of campaign the Herald is running, seek to supplant the role of the judge -- not because it's a really important story, but because it will sell papers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Andre - not every non-celebrity is a bus driver. You would be surprised how many employers operating in a professional capacity would have it written into an employment contract that if you were to break the law in such a manner as the case in question that you would be dismissed.

    And you know what, Rik? If those people have even half decent lawyers they get discharges and suppression on precisely that basis for this kind of offence.

    Their lawyers do exactly what this guy's did and present evidence to the judge that the consequences of a conviction would grossly outweigh the offence itself.

    The only difference is that you don't get to hear about it. Seriously.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Andre - not every non-celebrity is a bus driver. You would be surprised how many employers operating in a professional capacity would have it written into an employment contract that if you were to break the law in such a manner as the case in question that you would be dismissed.

    You do the crime, you do the time.

    To be fair, you were the one that used a bus driver as an example. I took it and ran with it to show that there are predictably different results for publishing various kinds of information for different types of profession, and that's something that we want judges to take into account. If someone is likely to lose their job as the result of publication of their offence, then the sentencing judge needs to take that into account, and name suppression (or discharge without conviction) may well be appropriate.

    If we are instead going to talk about the more general issue of employment contracts that have clauses allowing dismissal for questionable private conduct, that's something else again. That stops being an issue about publicity surrounding an offence and starts being about the offence itself and the contractual obligations of the person committing the offence.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 846 posts Report Reply

  • Gen,

    I do not want to trivialise sexual abuse. I do, however, wonder whether this case would ever have got to court if there hadn’t been a “well known entertainer” involved.

    I think he acted like a sleazy drunk, but usually, if you tell a sleazy drunk to fuck off, they do. They don’t need to be charged with archaic offences.

    There might be circumstances that I’m not aware of that make his behaviour more sinister than its appears to be. On what’s been reported though, name suppression seems justified for what appears to me to be a grotty but not particularly criminal act.

    Since Nov 2009 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The two situations just aren't comparable, any more than it would be comparable to start publishing the names of children who go through the youth court just because we do so for adults. Context matters in a fundamental way.

    Different rule for children, sure. Not convinced about different rule for celebrities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    There might be circumstances that I’m not aware of that make his behaviour more sinister than its appears to be. On what’s been reported though, name suppression seems justified for what appears to me to be a grotty but not particularly criminal act.

    I tend to agree.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5918 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    But the offence with which he was eventually charged took place in the course of about 10 seconds. If, indeed, it was to ruin the rest of his life, that would be quite a punishment.

    Russell - I find this line of reasoning to be off the planet. Ask the family of the old indian fella that was knocked off in a road rage incident if they agree with you that what people do with a rush of blood to the head should not have any bearing on the rest of a persons life. Maybe you know something the rest of us do not know however if it absolves the "star" then lets just name the star, report all the facts and let people make up their own minds how they feel about him?

    To be fair, you were the one that used a bus driver as an example.

    Andre - no I was not. You are mistaken.

    Since Jun 2007 • 124 posts Report Reply

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