Friday, April 07, 2006

Email campaign spreads Nicholas case details

NZPA
Email campaign spreads Nicholas case details
07.04.06 7.55am

An email delivered from a bogus address is spreading suppressed information from the Louise Nicholas rape case around the country.

The email is the latest in a campaign by protesters to highlight alleged injustices in the case. Pamphlets breaching suppression orders relating to the trial have already been distributed in Wellington and Auckland in support of Ms Nicholas.

Yesterday, they hit Christchurch. The email includes information that was kept from the jury that acquitted three men of 20 sex charges relating to Mrs Nicholas' allegations, The Dominion Post reported today.

Police Assistant Commissioner Clint Rickards and former policemen Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton were last week cleared of offences alleged to have occurred in Rotorua 20 years ago.

Barrister Peter Dengate Thrush, an internet law specialist, told the newspaper the bulk emailing of court-suppressed information was something he had never previously encountered.

He said current law governing breach of court order suppression was tailored towards media organisations, or individuals distributing leaflets.

"The question is how can the law adapt to apply to hundreds and thousands of small operators who download this information on the internet or forward bulk emails."

The email admits forwarding it would breach suppression orders and encourages recipients to do so in an untraceable way to "honour the bravery of Louise Nicholas".

Mr Thrush said people who received the email were not breaching the suppression order, but as soon as it was forwarded or printed, it constituted republication.

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