High Court judge takes 'extraordinary step' in murder case

A High Court judge has taken the self-admitted "extraordinary step" to suppress details of a murder case, despite saying "the public has a right to know".

The Herald can report that a man appeared at the High Court in Auckland today and entered a plea to a charge relating to a murder.

But due to a heavy suppression order made by Justice Timothy Brewer the Herald cannot publish the name, charge to which the man entered a plea, and the particulars of the murder case.

After oral submissions by the man's lawyer, Emma Priest, in favour of an application to suppress the "entire case", Brewer said, "it would not be sufficient for me to take the extraordinary step of suppression".

"Normally I would decline," the judge said.

"The public have a right to know what the plea is, who has entered it, and to what charge."

After a lengthy debate, Brewer read a report submitted to the court about Priest's client.

The judge was then persuaded to take what he reiterated was an "extraordinary step" and suppress the case.

He added he did not want to "take the risk" of potential scenarios which might arise from publication of details of the case in the press.

The Crown did not oppose the suppression order.

The case will be heard before the court again next month.