A young man who pleaded guilty to assaulting two others at a drunken Labour Party summer camp argues his identity should be kept forever hidden.
The High Court judge considering the appeal has also contemplated suppressing his name until after this year's general election as the case is kicked about like a political football.
The now 22-year-old was discharged without conviction but also declined permanent name suppression by Judge Russell Collins at his sentencing last November.
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His lawyer Emma Priest today appealed the decision in the High Court at Auckland before Justice Christian Whata.
Priest said there had been "extreme media" coverage of the case, and the trial was "highly politicised".
During last year's trial, the young man reached a deal with prosecutors after facing five charges of indecent assault, which related to four people: two men and two women.
He 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.
The assault charges were for the allegations against the two men. The charges against the two women were dismissed.
After being arrested in June 2018, the young man had faced six counts of indecent assault. However, some of the allegations were also dropped in September 2018.
Despite the downgrade, the man faced a lifetime of Google searches and being labelled as the "young Labour Party sexual offender", Priest said.
"He's put in the MeToo basket, he's given that label."
She added other ongoing "sexual political scandals within the Labour Party" had been linked to her client's case, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also spoke publicly about the trial.
After the sentencing, one of the victims was interviewed by Newstalk ZB, which Priest said today was not a "fair statement of what happened in the court".
In the interview, the victim said the case had became a political football.
"If I've gone through this without justice, what about everyone else that goes through the system?" he said.
"I would have liked for him to actually have been given a consequence that reflects his behaviour."
But Priest said her client did not want to engage in defamation proceedings or go to the Media Council.
"He just wants it all to go away."
However, Justice Whata told Priest: "What you're asking the court to do is suppress something that is highly topical.
"Actually, that's why we have freedom of speech."
He said public discussion of the case might be deemed as unfair to the offender but could also be seen to be unfair to the complainants.
Justice Whata said he was conscious there should not be any perceived special treatment for anyone in political parties.
He contemplated continuing suppression until after this year's election.
"We've got an election coming up, and dollars to doughnuts this will be all over that and his face associated with it."
Justice Whata reserved his decision on suppression and said he couldn't promise a result in the near future as he "gave it careful consideration".
At sentencing, Judge Collins said the gravity of the offending was low, despite the nature and how the public might have viewed the allegations.
During the August trial, the man was accused of having grabbed and squeezed a man's testicles, touched another man's genitals twice, kissed a woman on her neck and face and groped a second woman's breast and bottom.
"I'm not convinced it was for a sexual gratification or any perverted motive," Judge Collins said.
While not an excuse, the judge added it was "born out of drunken stupidity".
During the trial, the court heard there was heavy drinking at the camp, described as a "glorified piss-up".
The jury was shown cellphone videos of the raucous festivities. One caption read: "The Labour Party is cooler and likes alcohol more than you think."
Ardern spoke to those at the camp the day before the allegations.
Wellington lawyer Maria Austen conducted an external review of Labour Party procedures after the allegations came to light.
Austen's report 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 further sexual allegations within the party came to light, has said all the recommendations of the Austen report would be implemented.