One of the accused charged by the Serious Fraud Office over the New Zealand First Foundation has lost their name suppression – but neither of the two people charged can yet be named.
The SFO accuse the pair of obtaining by deception.
Charging documents allege the pair deposited nearly $800,000 over a five year period into New Zealand First bank accounts and failed to declare them to the New Zealand First party secretary or the Electoral Commission.
In a decision released today, Judge Orchard has dismissed the application for continued name suppression, but that will remain in place until December 14, unless an appeal is filed.
The first defendant complained in court the case has been “politicised” and that they are being used to attack New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.
They called on controversial blogger Cameron Slater to support his bid for suppression, with Mr Slater supporting the claim that the media would treat the case unfairly.
But Judge Orchard rejected those claims.
“While I accept that this prosecution has attracted considerable media interest, both from the mainstream media and others, including bloggers, I do not accept that if the suppression order is lifted [suppressed name] is likely not to receive a fair trial,” she said in the decision released today.
Neither of the accused is a minister, sitting MP, was a candidate in the 2020 election or a member of their staff, or a current member of the New Zealand First political party.
The second defendant in the case has not applied for name suppression, but can’t be named while the first defendant seeks suppression.