Vince Siemer Vince Siemer CREDIT: John Creser

Crown Law Office threatens activist with contempt

Tuesday 21 December 2010, 12:31AM
By John Creser

The Crown Law Office has advised that it intends to prosecute justice activist Vince Siemer for publishing Justice Helen Winkelmann's suppressed decision in the "Urewera terrorist" prosecution . Justice Winkleman has decided  that the trial against 15 accused will be by judge alone and a commentary along with her  decision has been posted on Mr Siemer's website.

The advice  from Crown counsel Madeleine Laracy was received by Kiwisfirst  several days ago and concerns CRI 2007-085-007842 - R v Bailey and others. Mr Siemer has refused to remove the decision from his website despite the following advice from the Crown Law Office.

1. You are the editor of and (sic) and responsible for the
content of those websites.

2. The web sites contain an article entitled "Judge or Be Judged", which provides a
summary of a judgment by Her Honour Justice Winkelmann in the above
proceedings, issued on 9 December 2010. You have also provided a link to a copy of
the judgment itself, which is hosted on your website.

3. That judgment includes a suppression order expressly forbidding publication of the
judgment (including publication on the internet) and any commentary, summary or
description of it. You are aware of that suppression order, as is apparent from the
purported alteration of the order on the copy of the judgment which you are

4. On behalf of the Solicitor-General I advise that he is of the view that the publication
of your article "Judge or Be Judged" and the judgment itself constitutes a clear and
deliberate breach of the suppression order. We request that you remove that article,
the copy of the judgment and any further references to them immediately.

5. Subject to considering anything you wish to say in mitigation, the Solicitor-General's
current intention is to prosecute this matter as a contempt of court. He will seek a
term of imprisonment and is likely to proceed with the application regardless of
whether the particular suppression order remains in force. Please be aware that you
are not required to make any statement in respect of this letter, but if you do it may
be admitted in evidence against you. I also advise you of your right to legal advice,given that contempt proceedings will put you in jeopardy of imprisonment. A final decision will be made in respect of this matter on Monday 20 December 2010.