A violent rapist will live in the community under a supervision order, despite expert evidence that he poses a high risk of reoffending.
But the community will not know the man's identity, with the judge suppressing his name and whereabouts, saying the potential adverse effect of publicity on his rehabilitation outweighed the principle of open justice.
The man was convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl in the 1990s. After being freed from jail, he pleaded guilty to charges of possessing objectionable material. He has been freed under an order of extended supervision for 10 years – the maximum a judge can impose.
Offenders under supervision orders must report to a probation officer regularly, may be obliged to attend treatment programmes and counselling, must live at an approved residence and can have only restricted contact with people under the age of 16.
But Justice Alan MacKenzie ordered that the man's name, address and identifying details be suppressed.
"The possible effect on rehabilitation does outweigh the general principle of open justice here," he said in the High Court at Wellington.
What could Justice Alan McKenzie be thinking? In his decision, he has placed the "rights" of a convicted rapist who has a penchant for teenage girls ahead of the rights of the community where the man has been placed. This is especially worrying given what follows in the story (our emphasis added):
Several reports given to the court concluded the man's overall risk of reoffending was "medium to high".
"If he continues to demonstrate a number of characteristics which have been seen to be revealed by the testing, there is a high probability ... that he will engage in serious sexual offending involving violent sexual assault within five years of release, with this risk remaining over 10 years," Justice MacKenzie said.
"This offending will place female adults and adolescents under the age of 16 years at risk."
Now Justice McKenzie may have made a decision which is legally correct. But is it a decision which takes the safety of the community into account? We don't think so. We have a teenage daughter, so perhaps that clouds our judgment. But a law which affords this level of anonymity to a convicted rapist is patently wrong in our always-humble opinion.