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Billionaire’s Name Suppression Overturned

New Zealanders could soon know the identity of the American billionaire caught smuggling marijuana into Auckland airport after the Herald newspaper won their appeal against his name suppression yesterday.

IN a landmark ruling in the Auckland High Court , Justice Potter and Justice Nicholson ruled that a District Court judge was wrong to discharge the billionaire without conviction and suppress his name during the America's Cup.

The justices said by suppressing the man’s name Judge David Harvey had failed to consider the Bill of Rights Act and had acted wrongly in law.

By allowing the billionaire to donate of $53,000 to a local drug rehabilitation centre, the judge had also created the impression that a discharge without conviction could be brought and sold, the justices said.

The result is the culmination of a seven month court battle by The New Zealand Herald newspaper to challenge the man’s name suppression.

The billionaire known only as “L” admitted to the charge of importing over 100 grams of marijuana into the country after he was arrested on January 4.

Providing the ruling is not appealed, the New Zealand Herald and other media can publish the man’s name five working days from the judgement – by Wednesday next week.

The billionaire's lawyer, Marie Dyhrberg, has not yet indicated whether the billionaire will appeal the judgement. She has previously indicated he was prepared to fight the case to the Court Of Appeal if necessary.

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