A taxi driver has made a spur-of-the-moment bid to have his name hidden from the public's eye as he heads to trial accused of killing a young father of four and friend of Auckland's mayor.
Daniel (Dann) Kopa, 34, was hit by a car on Hobson St in Auckland's city centre just before 9am on June 6 last year.
The young father of four was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but died after his life support was turned off two days later.
Before Kopa died he had his daughter's footprint tattooed on him as a "last wish" while he lay unconscious in his hospital bed.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff was also friends with Kopa and his family and published a tribute to him after his death.
A 25-year-old taxi driver was charged in December with operating a vehicle carelessly and causing Kopa's death. He has pleaded not guilty and is heading towards a judge-alone trial later this year.
Despite the driver being named by media that month, barrister Shannon Withers made an on-the-fly submission from the bar in the Auckland District Court today for the suppression of his client's name.
He told Judge Philip Recordon that his client was yet to inform his new employer of three months about the charge he faces. He said his client sought time to "grapple with the consequences" of his name in the press.
"[The defendant] does not seek to interfere with open justice ... but he didn't believe the case would reach the notoriety that it had," Withers said.
Withers also said the defence's case will rely on a yet to be approached expert witness' evidence, who is expected to testify that the driver didn't have time to react and stop the car before hitting Kopa.
He argued he didn't want his witness to be influenced by media reports. The court also heard there was CCTV footage of the crash.
The Herald opposed the application for name suppression and argued in favour of open justice, pointing out that the defendant had ample opportunity to inform his employer and there had been no prior application for name suppression.
Police supported the newspaper in its opposition of the application and told the court the defendant would be naive to believe that a fatal crash would not receive media attention.
Judge Recordon said the application ought to have been made in writing prior to the hearing and agreed with the Herald and the police's submissions for open justice.
"Open justice is a very important foundation of our system in New Zealand and most of the Western World," he said.
The judge ruled there were no grounds for suppression and did not accept that media reports would influence expert witnesses at trial.
However, Withers immediately indicated an intent to appeal Judge Recordon's decision - resulting in an automatic interim name suppression order being made.
The accused's case is due to be heard in court again next month, while a trial was set for September.