Key Points:

A police officer convicted of assaulting his wife also hit his three children.

Adrian Hilterman, a prosecuting sergeant with 27 years in the force, pleaded guilty at the end of his trial for assaulting his doctor wife, Deborah, to charges of beating each of his children with a wooden spoon.

Hilterman, 50, was found guilty of two charges of assaulting Dr Hilterman, and acquitted of 10 others when the trial ended two weeks ago.

The jury had not known about the three assault charges he faced in relation to his children, and a suppression order prevented publication of them until now.

The children were aged 5, 6 and 7 when Hilterman hit them on July 31 last year, the day before he ended his decade-long marriage.

Dr Hilterman had wanted the public to know about the assaults on the youngsters, and last night welcomed the removal of the suppression order.

"The violence wasn't just towards me," she said. "But it was towards the children. This is not a one-off incident. It is all part and parcel of family violence."

Dr Hilterman also vigorously opposed a suppression order that prevented the public knowing her estranged husband's occupation during the trial, saying he appeared to be getting special treatment because he was a police officer.

Judge Robert Spear, who presided over the trial, clarified a few days after the verdict that media organisations were entitled to publish Hilterman's occupation. Now, the judge has also agreed to allow publication of his reasons for imposing the order, which unusually suppressed Hilterman's occupation but not his name.

In his August 21 decision, Judge Spear said he was concerned public interest in the case would be significantly increased if the media were able to report the fact Hilterman was a serving police officer in Whakatane.

"Indeed, if the media are free to report that the accused was a police sergeant in charge of prosecutions at Whakatane then that has the real potential to raise this case up in the public consciousness and compare it with the other recent high-profile cases involving police officers," the judge wrote. "I question whether this case deserves that degree of public attention."

The judge suggested that "public concerns about the calibre of those serving as police officers in the Bay of Plenty will again be brought to the fore but, in my view, quite prematurely".

The most recent case in the region involved four officers accused of assaulting a man in the cells at Whakatane police station. All four were acquitted. Judge Spear said the allegations in Hilterman's case did not relate to his conduct as a police officer, but Dr Hilterman said she was appalled that the order had been made on the grounds of what had gone on before with other officers.

"I believe that I have suffered emotionally because I've had to fight to get heard and believed, all the more so because of the suppression orders existing," she said.

Hilterman will be sentenced next month.