The couple, who allegedly violated lockdown rules by traveling from Auckland to Vanaca vacation home, could not be trusted to comply with non-publication orders on social media users after their lawyer argued.
A 35-year-old man, the son of a government official, and his 26-year-old companion crossed the Alert Level 4 border from Auckland on Thursday using the necessary workers’ waiver before driving at Hamilton Airport, police said. ۔
He took a commercial flight to Queenstown via Wellington, rented a car and went to Wenaka.
Police said they were notified online through a Code-19 compliance reporting tool, and found the pair on Saturday afternoon.
An immediate telephone conference was held Monday night.
The man’s lawyer, Rachel RedQC, argued that the couple should keep their names secret because social media users, bloggers and citizen journalists could not be expected to comply with the same crackdown orders as mainstream media. ۔
In a ruling issued today, Judge Davidson allowed the couple’s name to be suppressed and banned the publication of other identifying details of the couple, including the possession of a government official.
Judge Davidson said it was to allow potential defendants and public time to apply to the high public for non-publication orders before formal charges could be filed.
He said the alleged incident had attracted a lot of attention from the mainstream and social media.
Police Prosecutor Ned Fletcher noted that Auckland’s Alert Level 4 restrictions could cause some delays in filing charges or the couple’s first court appearance.
As of last night, no charges had been filed against the couple. If filed, the charges would be a violation of the Covid 19 Public Health Response Order.