Thursday, April 06, 2006

Breaches of Nicholas case suppression spread further

Breaches of Nicholas case suppression spread further
06.04.06 1.00pm

More pamphlets breaching suppression orders relating to the Louise Nicholas police rape trial, are likely to be circulated in Christchurch today.

A third group has said it will follow protest action in Wellington earlier this week and in Auckland yesterday, and distribute pamphlets containing suppressed information.

Pamphlets were distributed in Wellington and Auckland in support of Rotorua woman Louise Nicholas, who claimed Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards and former police officers Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum raped and sexually abused her when she was an 18-year-old in Rotorua 20 years ago.

The three men were acquitted on all 20 charges by a jury of seven women and five men last week. Justice Tony Randerson imposed suppression orders relating to some evidence and issues relating to the case.

He also expressed his concern at apparent breaches of his suppression orders during the trial by material which appeared on the internet and asked for more details at another hearing within the next few weeks.

In Wellington earlier this week pamphlets containing suppressed information were circulated although they were later modified to remove some of the information after the women distributing them were approached by police.

At the University of Auckland yesterday, more pamphlets were circulated, also containing suppressed information before the issue was debated on the university quad by nearly 100 students who said they supported the Wellington women's cause.

A group of Christchurch women and men said today they would distribute pamphlets in Cathedral Square containing suppressed information. They said their action was in support of Louise Nicholas and the Wellington women.

The Christchurch group claimed justice was not served in the trial. People who breach suppression orders can be charged by police with breaching a suppression order but they can also face contempt charges if the judge who imposed the orders decides to take action.

A complaint has been lodged with police but no one has yet been charged.

It is believed the Solicitor-General Terence Arnold, QC, may also be involved. The Solicitor-General is considered the Government's principal legal adviser and a judge can raise an issue such as a breach of a suppression order, with him.

Lawyers for two of the three acquitted men would not comment today although Paul Mabey, QC, yesterday said the apparent breach of the suppression orders was a real concern.

The Auckland pamphlets were organised by political activist Nick Keesing who said he did not fear the repercussions of breaching the court orders and would fight charges in court.


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