8 Oct 2015

Boy who stabbed dairy owner keeps identity secret

6:19 pm on 8 October 2015

The lawyer for a teenage boy who stabbed a west Auckland dairy owner to death during a botched robbery last year, says he's very grateful his name will be permanently suppressed.

Three Appeal Court judges ruled today that the 14-year-old would not be able to cope with being publicly identified as the killer of Arun Kumar.


Arun Kumar.

Arun Kumar. Photo: SUPPLIED

The boy - who was 13 at the time of the attack - was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, and jailed for six years.

His lawyer, Maria Pecotic, said the boy was scared about being named.

"There's been this fear that once his name is out there , the repecussions for him are quite great in his mind. So for him, it will be relief and just extreme gratitude."

Ms Pecotic said the boy had a brain injury and a very difficult upbringing, and the decision meant he now had an opportunity to continue the good rehabilitation he had already started.

After his sentencing, the judge said his name should be made public, but the boy appealed.

In a judgement released today, the Court of Appeal has agreed with the boy's argument and permanently suppressed his name.

Three judges said the teenager did not possess the mechanisms for dealing with having his identity known and he could be targeted in his youth justice facility.

They said publication of his name could stop him being able to adjust to life after he is released, drawing parallels to the country's youngest convicted killer, Bailey Kurariki.

The Kumar family had wanted suppression lifted but the judges said their views, though understandable, did not carry legal weight in this context.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs