The young man who admitted assaulting two others at a drunken Labour Party summer camp has seen his argument for permanent suppression dismissed.

However, the secrecy of the 22-year-old's name will continue until at least May 1 to allow for the prospect of another legal challenge to the Court of Appeal.

During a trial last year, the young man reached a plea deal with prosecutors after facing five charges of indecent assault, relating to two men and two women.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to two amended charges of assault under the Summary Offences Act for the events at the young Labour event near Waihi in February 2018.

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The assault charges were for the allegations against the two men, while the charges against the two women were dismissed.

At his sentencing in November, the offender was then discharged without conviction but also refused permanent name suppression by Judge Russell Collins.

Despite this, the case continued.

In February the suppression decision was appealed to the High Court, with the man's lawyer arguing her client's case had become "highly politicised" and there was a media frenzy.

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Emma Priest said her client suffered through an intense and highly publicised trial, while the negatively toned media frenzy vilified the man, tainting his character beyond repair.

She further noted, even after her client pleaded guilty to the assault charges, that members of the public continued to label him a "sexual predator" and "the Labour Youth Camp pervert" on Facebook and Twitter.

But Crown lawyer Erin Woolley said the extent of media coverage in the case was no more than is to be expected in a high-profile trial.

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She also said the concerns about an impact on future employment prospects had been overstated by Priest.

Crown prosecutors David Johnstone and Erin Woolley, pictured during the trial. Photo / Sam Hurley
Crown prosecutors David Johnstone and Erin Woolley, pictured during the trial. Photo / Sam Hurley

Today, Justice Christian Whata's decision was released the Herald.

The judge accepted the reputational impact on the young man by publishing his name was "likely to be severe", particularly if publicity mischaracterised his offending as sexual.

"He will likely become a target, not only for legitimate criticism, but for unfair vitriol and vilification as a sexual offender."

The case may well define the young man's life for the foreseeable future, Justice Whata said.

"He will likely be identified and vilified, wrongly, as a sexual offender, and there is a real and appreciable risk that a career in his chosen profession will be denied to him.

"He is still a young man and thus more vulnerable to the full force of this publication harm."

However, while Justice Whata said the likely harm from publication would be "extreme" it did not meet the legal threshold for a permanent suppression order, nor did he think there was enough evidence to show the man will be ostracised.

"The claimed hardship must be something that does not usually attend a criminal prosecution and, ordinarily, the distress and other consequences of media reporting (including vilification and job loss) would not qualify as hardship, let alone extreme hardship," he said.

The young man went to trial last year in the Auckland District Court over five charges of indecent assault against two men and two women. Photo / Sam Hurley
The young man went to trial last year in the Auckland District Court over five charges of indecent assault against two men and two women. Photo / Sam Hurley

The judge also considered the ongoing public interest in the case because of the initial sexual allegations and connection to the Labour Party.

"The combined seriousness of the alleged offending and the political dimension strongly engages the principle of open justice," he said.

"I am also obliged to have regard to the views of the victims. While these views have not been made known to me, I understand one of the victims continues to engage with the media. I will assume, therefore, that he wishes to exercise his right to freedom of expression, which includes identifying [the offender]."

After the sentencing, one of the victims spoke to Newstalk ZB and said the case had became a political football.

Justice Whata said while the offender's actions were not sexual, it was of a kind which could fairly attract criticism.

"Non-consensual touching is to be deterred," he said.

There had also been no suggestion, and no evidence, that the offender has any personal connection to the present Labour Party or any member of it, the judge added.

Justice Christian Whata said the case may well define the young man's life for the foreseeable future. Photo / File
Justice Christian Whata said the case may well define the young man's life for the foreseeable future. Photo / File

"While [the man] did not sexually offend, his actions still legitimately attract public scrutiny, including from within his own community and prospective employers.

"In addition, the evident political dimension to the coverage and corresponding public interest, strongly favours transparency to maintain confidence in the integrity and independence of the judicial process."

Justice Whata said he reached the view that the ongoing public interest in the proceedings, together with the principle of open justice, must prevail.

The judge, however, also had some kind words for the offender.

He said the young man's offending was "plainly an aberration" and described him as otherwise "a fine young man fully deserving of a career in his chosen profession".

"The discharge without conviction is testament to that," he said.

At sentencing, Judge Collins also said: "I'm not convinced it was for a sexual gratification or any perverted motive."

While not an excuse, the judge added the man's actions were "born out of drunken stupidity".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and former Labour Party president Nigel Haworth talk to media in March 2018 about the scandal. Photo / NZ Herald
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and former Labour Party president Nigel Haworth talk to media in March 2018 about the scandal. Photo / NZ Herald

At the appeal hearing, Justice Whata had signalled the prospect of continuing suppression until after New Zealand's general election.

But on reflection, he said in his decision, the political dimension precludes such a course.

"The public's right to know will be most engaged at that time," he said.

After being charged in June 2018, the young man had first faced six counts of indecent assault. However, some of the allegations were also earlier dropped in September 2018.

When last August's trial began, the court heard there had been heavy drinking at the camp, which was described as a "glorified piss-up".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at the event the day before the offending.

After the allegations came to light, Wellington lawyer Maria Austen conducted an external review of Labour Party procedures, which included several recommendations.

However, Ardern has said the report will not be publicly released while the court proceedings continue.

Former Labour Party president Nigel Haworth, who quit last September as separate sexual allegations within the Labour Party came to light, has said all the recommendations of the Austen report would be implemented.