R v Tranter [2019] NZDC 7924

Published 16 July 2021

Name suppression — fair trial rights — extreme hardship to family members — sexual violation by rape — sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection — indecent communication with a young person — blackmail — posting digital communication causing harm — misuse of a telephone — social media — Snapchat — Criminal Procedure Act 2011, s 200. The defendant was facing three charges of sexual violation by rape, three of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, five of indecent communication with a young person, four of blackmail, and one of causing harm by posting a digital communication and misuse of a telephone. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, all which related to allegations made by six young female students (the complainants) at the local high school. In this pretrial matter the defendant sought continuing name suppression on the basis that one of his relatives was a student at the same school, and was suffering bullying because of the allegations against the defendant. The Court found that the defendant's identity and his connection to his relative were already common knowledge within the school community. Also, the allegations against the defendant and the bullying of his relative had put the school in a difficult position - the allegations and investigation had disrupted the school community, and now the school was being asked to protect the defendant's relative from being bullied while also being prevented from naming the defendant. Likewise, the parents of the students who were bullying the defendant's relative were also hampered from taking action to stop their children from joining in the bullying. The Court therefore found that to continue the name suppression would in fact increase the hardship faced by the defendant's relative. The Court declined the application for continued name suppression. Judgment Date: 1 May 2019.