Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a journalist based in Auckland.

Timaru man accused of abducting boy named and shamed

Police questioned motorists about the alleged abduction in Timaru.  Photo / 3 News
Police questioned motorists about the alleged abduction in Timaru. Photo / 3 News

A man charged in connection with the abduction of a 9-year old boy in Timaru has been named and shamed on social media sites - and has even received online death threats.

The 26-year-old man appeared in Timaru District Court on Wednesday charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and wounding.

Judge Joanna Maze protected his identity by granting name suppression while officers continue to build their case.

But the suppression order hasn't stopped people from going online to name the man and circulate his image.

Vitriolic messages and death threats have also been posted.

Police say they are extremely disappointed with the suppression order breach but cannot act until instructed by a judge.

South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said police had referred the matter to the court and were awaiting instruction before any action was taken.

The breach was "very disappointing''.

"I'd say some halfwit was sitting in court and has then decided that just because a judge makes an order, ordering suppression, that it didn't apply to them, and they've released the information.

"We're pretty well aware of who it was, but we're just waiting for some instruction.''

Mr Gaskin said suppression orders were there for good reason.

"I think a lot of people think that suppression orders are just purely for the defendant, but in more cases than not, it is actually to protect the identity of victims, especially child victims.''

The defendant was remanded in custody for a psychiatric report to be carried out and will be back in court on December 5.

The boy was found at Holme Station Bridge, some 15km from his home, bloodied and distressed about 4.15pm on November 15.

It took several days before the traumatised boy could talk to officers about what happened to him after he left school.

He spent six days recovering in hospital and has since been discharged.

- APNZ

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