Candidate in court named

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Stuart McLachlan.  Photo / File
Stuart McLachlan. Photo / File

A candidate in the upcoming local body election accused of assault has lost name suppression and can now be revealed as former policeman Stuart McLachlan.

McLachlan is running for Napier City Council in the October elections.

He appeared in Hastings District Court today and argued for name suppression on the basis the publication of the name would cause undue hardship.

Hawke's Bay Today Deputy Editor Mark Story was present in court to oppose the suppression after Judge Bridget Mackintosh would not accept his submissions last week.

McLachlan has been accused of assaulting a lotto shop worker in March of this year.

Last week McLachlan was offered diversion but declined "for personal reasons" indicating he could not live with that.

He said he is running for council and had applied for a few jobs which would likely be affected by the publication of his name.

McLachlan said he strenuously denies the allegations and plans to defend himself.

Today in court Judge Tony Adeane said the matter must be dealt with in public but that McLachlan is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"The principal basis for seeking continued interim name suppression is that to do otherwise would be inconvenient to him in his political ambitions."

Judge Adeane said the principals of open justice meant this was not a sufficient reason.

Hawke's Bay Today editor Andrew Austin said the decision was good because it allowed Napier voters to make an informed decision about whether or not to elect Mr McLachlan.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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