Police investigating a professional man for alleged sexual grooming of children want his identity revealed in case other girls have been targeted.
The Auckland man, who works with children, appeared in the Pukekohe District Court to face three criminal charges of grooming for sex, unlawful sexual connection with a child aged between 12 and 16, and offering to supply methamphetamine.
The 43-year-old, who made an urgent application to keep his name and occupation secret after being approached by the Herald on Monday, asked for the interim suppression order to continue.
Defence lawyer Simon Lance asked Judge Sharon McAuslan for more time to prepare evidence in support of the suppression application, which would be made on the grounds of extreme hardship.
Mr Lance, acting on behalf of colleague Paul Wicks, said lifting suppression would have a negative impact on the man's job prospects.
"Even if he is acquitted, publication of his name will have a tainting effect in the wider profession."
Name and occupation suppression was opposed by the police on the principle of open justice and that secrecy would hinder the investigation.
Police prosecutor Geoffrey Bardsley said there was no possibility of identifying the girl at the centre of the allegations and most people at the man's workplace were already aware of the charges.
The suppression orders were also preventing the police from speaking to other witnesses about the allegations, said Mr Bardsley.
"This is preventing other potential victims from coming forward, which we believe is realistic."
Mr Lance said the suggestion of other complainants in the case was "speculative", to which Mr Bardsley said a statement from the complainant indicated that "others were involved".
But Mr Lance said it was so soon after charges had been laid that police disclosure of the evidence had yet to be received by the defence.
Judge McAuslan said there was "no way" suppression would carry on until the man's next court appearance in mid-September. She ordered another hearing in two weeks where the issue could be argued. The interim court orders are in place until then.
Outside court, supporters used an umbrella to try to shield the man from a Herald photographer.
Asked whether he would defend the charge, he said: "Yeah, hard."
His employer also attended the court hearing and said he wanted the suppression lifted. "We've done nothing wrong and I don't want anyone else tarnished by any rumours."
He said the senior staff member had been suspended immediately until the case was resolved.
The police started an investigation after being approached by the grandmother of the girl at the centre of the case. The alleged offending happened in May and text messages between the pair led the police to arrest the man three weeks ago.By Jared Savage @jaredsavageNZH Email Jared