A woman robbed by South Auckland man Danny Leef as she lay badly injured in her wrecked car has spoken of her anguish at being taken to hospital as a "Jane Doe" because her ID had been stolen.

Today, after legal battle spanning more than a year, the Herald could finally name Danny Leef as the thief who stole Shevaugn Johnstone's wallet and phone as he pretended to help her after a car crash in November 2017.

Johnstone needed surgery on her arm and elbow following a crash with a truck on Cosgrave Rd in the Auckland suburb of Papakura.

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While Johnstone lay seriously injured in her vehicle Leef, under the guise of being a Good Samaritan helping her after the crash, helped himself to her belongings.

He then went on a spending spree over the next several hours using Johnstone's credit card.

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Johnstone, meanwhile, was unable to be identified by paramedics because her ID was in her wallet.

And her partner was unable to find out where she was because her phone had been swiped.

Leef was arrested and Judge David McNaughton later sentenced him to 12 months' imprisonment but also decided to permanently suppress his name last August.

Danny Leef robbed a woman who lay injured in her wrecked car after a crash in November 2017. Photo / supplied
Danny Leef robbed a woman who lay injured in her wrecked car after a crash in November 2017. Photo / supplied

The Herald challenged the gag order in the High Court and won.

Leef then appealed that decision but Justice Timothy Brewer ruled in favour of the newspaper and quashed the suppression order.

He said Judge McNaughton erred by not seeking the views of Johnstone, who was vehemently opposed to suppression.

Yesterday Johnstone said she was "thrilled" Leef could finally be named.

She said she was still impacted by the offending, and the unnecessary panic and hurt Leef had caused her and her family in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

She said him stealing her wallet and phone caused her and her partner tremendous stress.

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Her partner could not find her or contact her and did not know which hospital she had been taken to or what condition she was in.

She said Leef dumped her phone when he realised it was locked and he could not get into it

"They had no way of finding me," she said.

"Also stealing my wallet - I went in to hospital as a Jane Doe as there was no identification for them to know who I was or call my next of kin," she said.

Johnstone was angry the court process had been so drawn out, which prevented her from moving on from Leef's callous offending.

"He should have accepted responsibility when he was finally caught and allowed for his name to be out there, and by now it would all be over," she told the Herald.

Danny Leef robbed Shevaughn Johnstone after she was seriously injured in a car crash. Photo / Supplied
Danny Leef robbed Shevaughn Johnstone after she was seriously injured in a car crash. Photo / Supplied

"Hopefully this will also show other people that by doing these types of horrible things the truth will come out, and it will make them think twice before they try anything."

Johnstone thought Judge McNaughton's initial decision to grant suppression was "pathetic" and was pleased the Herald had fought so hard against the decision.

"[Judge McNaughton] protected the offender and not the victim," she said.

"My name was everywhere due to him robbing me and doing such a disgusting thing to a vulnerable person, and his name was protected.

"That was so unfair, it was bullsh*t."

Johnstone said the public had a right to know what a "shameful, horrible person" Leef is.

"He is a grown man and chose to do what he did to me that day," she said.

"The public need to know as some may think he's this great person and may actually be
friends with him not knowing what kind of person he is... he's not going to tell anyone that he robbed an injured girl is he?

Danny Leef can now be named, more than a year after he was sentenced for his crimes. Photo / Supplied
Danny Leef can now be named, more than a year after he was sentenced for his crimes. Photo / Supplied

"At least they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to be associated with such a horrible person.

"He should have been named and shamed from the get-go, how it got this far is beyond me."

Johnstone said Leef's crime haunted her.

"Had the justice system done it's job from the get-go, I would not be reliving this almost two years down the line," she said.

When the Herald first challenged Judge McNaughton's suppression ruling, its reporting of the case was criticised by New Zealand Bar Association president Clive Elliott QC for what he called a "vindictive" and "personal" attack on a judge.

Judge David McNaughton made a permanent suppression order, which was overturned by the Herald on appeal. Photo / 1 News
Judge David McNaughton made a permanent suppression order, which was overturned by the Herald on appeal. Photo / 1 News

Justice Brewer, in his final appeal decision, confirmed the District Court judge had made an erroneous ruling.

Judge McNaughton suppressed Leef's name because of concerns his alcohol and drug rehabilitation at Odyssey House could be severely compromised if he was identified.

He said a news story naming the crook could also damage his mum's reputation and the urban marae, Te Tahawai Marae, which the Leef family were intimately connected to.

Further, he said the associated loss of confidence in Leef's mother and the marae might force her to resign leading to the marae's collapse.

The Herald later revealed Judge McNaughton had been a member of the Odyssey House board of trustees since September 2013, while Te Tahawai Marae has also hosted the clinic.

Judge McNaughton left the Odyssey House board in March this year.

Justice Brewer ruled that Judge McNaughton should have extended interim name suppression for the period of time the offender was in rehab to curb his concerns.

Justice Timothy Brewer said Judge David McNaughton should've asked what the victim's views were. Photo / Andrew Warner
Justice Timothy Brewer said Judge David McNaughton should've asked what the victim's views were. Photo / Andrew Warner

The High Court judge also found more faults in Judge McNaughton's decision by "failing to take account of two other relevant factors".

Judge McNaughton failed to inquire about Johnstone's views, Justice Brewer said.

Johnstone later conveyed she was vehemently opposed to permanent name suppression.

"She was entitled to have her views taken into account by the judge, and he had an obligation to at least inquire as to what they were," said Justice Brewer.

"In my view, Judge McNaughton erred.

"First, and without expressing a view on whether the threshold was crossed, the hardship identified by the judge might only occur if [the offender] actually attended the Odyssey House programme.

"Further, the risk of hardship identified by the judge was a contingent and temporary one. It was contingent on [the offender] actually attending the Odyssey House programme ... the judge failed to take into account the contingent and temporary nature of the risk he identified in exercising his discretion to grant permanent suppression of [the offender's]
name."