Defendant fought hard to keep details from public

John Nicholl (top left) fought desperately to keep his name out of the public eye.
John Nicholl (top left) fought desperately to keep his name out of the public eye.
At every turn, John Nicholl fought desperately to keep his name out of the public eye.

Not only did he want permanent name suppression but his counsel Deborah Henderson additionally argued his occupation and the fact his offending involved wearing a kilt should be kept secret, too.

When the Otago Daily Times instructed a lawyer to formally oppose permanent suppression, Nicholl’s legal team opposed the release of any documents.

It meant a hearing had to be hastily arranged just days before last week’s sentencing, at which Judge Peter Rollo allowed the ODT access to the material the defendant had filed, so an argument could be effectively formulated to dispute suppression.

At sentencing, Mrs Henderson argued the potential impact on Nicholl’s family of his name being released amounted to extreme hardship.

The judge, however, decided that threshold had not been met.

What Nicholl was asking was for the court to put his private interests over those of the public, he said.

He had “significant sympathy” for the innocent members of the defendant’s family who would no doubt be affected by publicity but that was not enough to make a permanent order.

“I accept, Mr Nicholl, this is a very sad day for you and your family,” Judge Rollo said.

“This will be a real measure of you as to how you go forward from this position.”



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter