The teenager found guilty of killing a West Auckland shopkeeper will have his name hidden from the public permanently because "he does not possess the mechanisms for dealing with the added burden of name publication".
The 14-year-old boy stabbed Arun Kumar in the neck at the Railside Dairy in Henderson on June 10 last year. He was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter and was jailed for six years.
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In July, before the youth was sentenced at the High Court in Auckland, Justice Graham Lang ruled name suppression for the teenager should be lifted. His lawyer Maria Pecotic appealed the decision.
The appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal in Wellington in August and Justices Harrison, Wild and Miller reserved their decision until today.
"The order made in the High Court is quashed. In substitution an order is made permanently prohibiting publication of [the teenager's] name and any visual or photographic image or any other details likely to lead to his identification," the decision said.
The decision outlined the reasons for retaining name suppression for the young killer.
"Justice Lang ordered interim suppression of (his) name pending trial but, following trial, declined his application for permanent suppression," it said.
"The judge was not satisfied that (the youth) would be likely to suffer extreme hardship if his name was published or, even if he had met that criterion, that he should exercise his residual discretion to order suppression."
It was decided that Justice Lang "failed to give primary consideration" to the youth's "particular characteristics" when assessing whether name publication would be likely to cause him extreme hardship.
The youth had an "an extremely unfortunate childhood" and was exposed to alcohol and drugs prior to birth. His mother has a long history of alcohol and drug addiction which reduced her ability to provide her children with a stable home and positive influences.
"As a result (the youth) was exposed to domestic violence, parental drug and alcohol abuse and criminal influences from an early age. He also began using drugs and alcohol himself at an early age.
"Matters were complicated further by the fact that when (he) was eight years of age he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after he was struck by a car whilst crossing the road. An injury of this type should have been the subject of lengthy and intensive therapeutic and rehabilitative treatment. Unfortunately, however, (the youth) did not receive any treatment for his injury following his discharge from hospital."
The Court of Appeal said the youth fell into a lifestyle in which he consumed alcohol and drugs on a regular basis with adults and other persons within his social circle.
"During this period he also continued to be exposed to criminal influences."
A neuropsychologist report on the boy said he was "vulnerable and brain-damaged" and susceptible to "instinctive or impulsive reactions when he found himself in a difficult complex situation".
"His neuro-disability increased his risk of future poor mental health, self-harm and suicide," that report said.
The Court of Appeal judges said the youth's brain injury alongside the "environmental and familial disadvantages of his upbringing" placed him in a "special category of vulnerability".
"He does not possess the mechanisms for dealing with the added burden of name publication," they ruled.
They said naming the youth put him at risk at the youth justice facility where he is serving his sentence and he was also more likely to self-harm and struggle when he was released if his name were published.
"In summary, we are satisfied that publication of (the youth's) name is likely to cause him extreme hardship.
"We are also satisfied that the judge erred in principle in this assessment ... When the balancing exercise is undertaken from the correct legal foundation and on the jurisdictional premise that (the youth) is likely to suffer extreme hardship if his name is published, we are satisfied that his name should be suppressed. Society's interest in promoting (his) reintegration and rehabilitation outweighs any interest in knowing his name."