It can now be revealed that a prominent Whakatane man found guilty of assaulting his wife is a police officer.
Adrian Hilterman, a prosecuting sergeant with 27 years' experience in the force, was found guilty of two counts of assaulting his doctor wife, Deborah, on Friday.
A suppression order preventing the publication of his occupation remained in place throughout the trial, but the trial judge yesterday said the order no longer applied.
Dr Hilterman objected to the suppression order that prevented the public knowing her estranged husband's occupation, and was unaware it had been lifted until contacted by the Herald.
"That's very welcome news," she said. "I've sought transparency from the start."
Hilterman originally had name suppression but that was lifted in August, while the suppression of his occupation continued.
Dr Hilterman said the order was unfair and did not make sense because people in Whakatane knew Hilterman was a police officer.
"It makes me extremely suspicious about where the direction has come from, and I'm afraid not only police, but the judicial system have to be answerable about why the judge has deemed it necessary to place those suppression orders when anybody else wouldn't have got that suppression."
Hilterman, 50, was convicted of two charges of assaulting Dr Hilterman in June last year, on one occasion kicking her in the lower back, and on the other, giving her a black eye.
He was acquitted of 10 other charges, eight of assault and two of injuring with intent.
It was alleged that he kicked, grabbed and threw Dr Hilterman, including once when she was 37 weeks pregnant with the second of their three children.
Hilterman denied the incidents occurred.
Judge Robert Spear made the order preventing publication of the 50-year-old's occupation.
Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said the decision was "appalling".
He said police officers were held in high esteem and if they got into trouble there should be more severe consequences than for ordinary members of the public.
"Obviously having your name and occupation disclosed should be part of that."
A media law expert said the decision to allow Hilterman occupation but not name suppression for the trial was unusual.
Associate Professor Ursula Cheer of Canterbury University said reasons for granting suppression had to be compelling.
Those reasons included the interests of justice, public morality, protecting victims of sexual offences and national security.
She struggled to see how the Hilterman order fitted into any of those categories, but said if publication of his occupation had been deemed to affect his ability to do his job had he been acquitted, that could have been put forward as a reason.
Hilterman is scheduled to be sentenced on November 3 and has been stood down from the police since he was charged.