31 Jul 2015

Name suppression vital for boy - lawyers

5:24 am on 31 July 2015

A 14-year-old boy will be sentenced today for the manslaughter of Auckland dairy owner Arun Kumar.

The attack occurred in Henderson.

The attack occurred in Henderson. Photo: RNZ

Justice Lang said he would lift name suppression for the boy at sentencing, but the boy's lawyer appealed that decision, which means it will continue until the appeal is heard.

Some lawyers say if the boy is named, the crime could haunt him for the rest of his life.

The boy's lawyer, Maria Pecotic, said her client had made many positive changes, and does not want to be remembered as the Railside Dairy killer.

The family of his victim, Arun Kumar, said they opposed him getting name suppression, a view shared by Sensible Sentencing Trust's Garth McVicar.

"I'm astounded that these defence lawyers are still going down that direction, that angle, it's appalling, in my opinion, and I can understand the family being totally insulted," he said.

Criminal lawyer Lorraine Smith said he was just a boy, and should be given the chance to start again.

"Given his age he clearly has the potential to change, and I would hate him to be marked by continual publicity and his photo appearing because the media know who he is and can take shots of him," she said.

"What is the best thing for society, what is the best thing for him - he's going to have to live the rest of his life with what he's done, and as he gets older, as he matures, no doubt it's going to have a serious effect on him."

Stephen Bonnar, QC, was the prosecutor in the case of Bailey Junior Kurariki, who as a 12-year-old was convicted of manslaughter after the killing of pizza delivery man Michael Choy in 2001.

Mr Bonnar said the younger the offender, the longer a crime could haunt them in their life.

"It's difficult to be forgotten nowadays, so I think the fact that it's so much easier for people to find details which maybe in eras past would have just faded into the mists of time, I think that's a real issue," he said.

Mr Bonnar said the offender being able to re-establish themselves was a key element in such cases.

"The fact is that they will eventually be released back into the community at a relatively young age, and hopefully they will become a productive member of society," he said.

He said it was important to consider whether naming young offenders would hamper their rehabilitation, and whether society wanted them to carry around their crimes for their whole lives.

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