September 4, 2021
Robert Stewart represented five New Zealand media organisations (NZ Herald, Newshub, Radio NZ, Stuff and TVNZ) in an urgent application to lift name suppression for the terrorist, Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, who stabbed and seriously wounded innocent members of the public before being shot dead by police in an Auckland supermarket on 3 September 2021. While the Crown sought the disclosure of some facts regarding Mr Samsudeen’s immigration status, Robert successfully argued that open justice and the high public interest in what had occurred meant the media must be free to publish every aspect of the relevant court judgments, including all of the reasons why Mr Samsudeen had been granted suppression of name.
After two urgently convened hearings in the High Court, Justice Wylie revoked name suppression and held that it was unlikely that publication of Mr Samsudeen’s refugee status and particulars relating to that status could endanger the safety of other persons. Justice Wylie also held that the confidentiality provisions of s 151 of the Immigration Act 2009 no longer applied. The rulings allowed the media to publish Mr Samsudeen’s name as the person responsible for the terror attack at LynnMall and inform the public why he had been granted name suppression within 36 hours of the attack occurring. The removal of name suppression and confidentiality in relation to refugee status has allowed unrestricted public discussion of the matter and promoted freedom of expression, which is guaranteed to all citizens by s 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
Robert regularly appears for the media on matters relating to suppression, defamation and all other areas of media law.
Click to read:
Order of Wylie J, 3 September 2021