Over the years I have been privy to a lot of confidential information, criminal records, identities of abusers, the dirty laundry of families, skeletons in the closet even political secrets. Some of it is quite comedic and other stuff is just well ugly. I still walk down the street today and see people I know “stuff” about, stuff I rather would not know. I am good at keeping secrets and confidentiality, not perfect, on the few occasions I can recall I saw what happens when information that should remain secret makes it to the public domain it is not pretty and it speaks of the person who leaks it rather than the person it is about. Not one of us is perfect and I am sure that we all have things in our past that we would rather leave untold. Often however it would seem that we are treated like mushrooms by politicians and officialdom, the notion of an open society where information is freely available is clearly a nonsense, with politicians blatantly delaying the release of official information, or trying to bury stuff in an avalanche of unrelated information. All of these things are deplorable and need to have some sanction placed on them. That which has become a confusion for me is name suppression in criminal cases. There needs to be some rethink of this. As a general rule I think that unless there is good cause people charged with criminal offences should have name suppression until conviction. Any exception to this should be for extremely good reasons.
I have found out that sometimes the burden of being privy to that kind of information is quite unpleasant and can stir up emotions. Especially when with that knowledge you realise that there has been great harm occurr to people because of poor decisions. Stephen Dudley is an example of that, whilst I am not privy to any special information it is not hard to use reasonable assumption to know that the information that has been suppressed would enrage people, it certainly has done to the few non professionals that have been privy to it http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/64789342/Stephen-Dudleys-parents-shocked-by-file . It would suggest that there is history that we are not aware of. I too am the possessor of information that is not in the public domain, some of it is not barred from publication, not suppressed however I am not yet in full possession of the facts and for now will just bide my time, keep my peace as it were.
The unfortunate thing about the suppression of information it is often used to counter incompetence, corruption, or oppression, we see this often in parliament where are politicians engage in a dance that has no grace or beauty, they use weasel words, obfuscation and sometimes just plain disingenuity in their attempts to avoid giving accurate information to questions. As I have spoken before this sets the standard for others to follow, from the school yard to the halls of power they look and learn from these examples, the amount of spin employed is enough to make one dizzy.
This week I found information that enrages me, it is unconfirmed and I will need to keep quiet for a while (yes I hear the wonder and awe, Paul quiet? really?) but in this case I have no choice. It is likely to all come out anyway and I guess I get the doubtful privilege of being shocked earlier than the general public, others know this information it is not exclusive to me, I pride myself on my ability to understand and interpret privacy law and general principles around libel and slander. I have to however get some advice as I move into new areas in my writing that have potential to be litigious. I need to look at my liabilities and responsibilities, such is the life of a professional writer, and that is what I describe myself at the moment. I should publish for sale my first tome in the next week but I have other writing to publish that may be more controversial than my blog posts.
They say that the path to mediocrity is paved with unpublished manuscripts, publication these days is pretty straight forward and relatively inexpensive if not free when done online, the biggest trick is to write something that is (a) read by others and (b) if I want to be considered professional it is also something that people are willing to pay for, we will see what happens.