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Monday, June 30, 2014

NZ media names Malaysian diplomat implicated in sex offence


The New Zealand media has named the Malaysian diplomat accused of a sex offence after the high court there lifted a suppression order regarding his identity.

News portal stuff.com.nz identified the diplomat as Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, who holds the military rank of warrant officer.

According to the report, he was a staff assistant with a defence portfolio at the Malaysian High Commission.

The news portal said Robert Stewart, lawyer for Fairfax Media, which appealed for the suppression to be lifted, said Malaysia's Foreign Ministry was due to make a statement on the matter today.

Therefore, he said the New Zealand media would be in an invidious position if it could not name a man who could be named overseas.

Rizalman, aged in his 30s, was not represented at the hearing but lawyer Barbara Hunt has been appointed by the court to assist if necessary.

Rizalman first appeared in the district court on May 10 where two justices of the peace granted the suppression. A court registrar continued the suppression on May 15 when police said issues of diplomatic immunity were being looked into.

The case was before District Court judge Bruce Davidson on May 30 when the order was continued.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand police did not oppose the appeal as there was no connection between the defendant and the alleged victim so there was no risk of her being identified if the defendant was named.

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