Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: An update of changes to suicide-reporting law (updated)

16 Responses

  • Ross Mason,

    I will no longer be able to report that the second wife of my great grandfather committed suicide by cutting her own throat?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to ,

    That’s unfortunate. I see the damage that breakfast tv hosts could cause if they started cracking jokes about the details of specific suicides (and some of them would if thay could).

    Agreed. I've no issue with a broadcasting standard to stop this. There's already a bit of one, although it could perhaps be stronger. Guideline 5a states:

    Programmes should not actively promote serious antisocial or illegal behaviour, including violence, suicide, serious crime and the abuse of drugs.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I will no longer be able to report that the second wife of my great grandfather committed suicide by cutting her own throat?

    You will need permission of the Chief Coroner before you do so publicly. You can still mention it in conversation.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Roberts,

    Graeme, how far back does the restriction on discussing historical suicides apply?

    I'm concerned because I'm researching suicides by former WWI soldiers (in my sample, last once occurred in the 1960s).

    Since May 2016 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Evan Roberts,

    I'm concerned because I'm researching suicides by former WWI soldiers (in my sample, last once occurred in the 1960s).

    You can report anything if you get permission from the Chief Coroner.

    If there's a Coroner's finding that a death was a suicide, you can report that the death was a suicide. This is probably all you need. You just can't report the manner of death (eg shot himself).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Interestingly a Dunedin blogger will be in court soon over what may be just this issue, after apparently republishing something she thought was OK.

    Actually I think that ODT article may itself be possibly in breach of the law, or is at least skirting it extremely closely.

    The issue mentioned by the ODT article is around a council employee who was caught embezzling millions through the sales of used council vehicles. It’s an important local issue about corruption within a local body – however because of the circumstances it has resulted in a general gagging of public discussion of this wider issue – you’ll notice that the ODT has disabled public discussion on that article, and in fact has on all articles to do with this corruption scandal.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Interestingly a Dunedin blogger will be in court soon over what may be just this issue, after apparently republishing something she thought was OK.

    Based on the article, I would guess it was an allegation of a breach of an actual suppression order (it talks about a "coroner's finding"), but, of course, I don’t know.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    certainly the tiptoeing around this issue over the past couple of years has had a lot to do with the circumstances (and the coroner has been MIA in this issue), it allowed the council to essentially sweep much of the issue under the carpet and not go after the (connected) people to recover the vehicles in question

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Do we have to refer to the Japanese tactics in WW2 as “high risk aerial strike operations”?

    Not to mention what happened to Hitler - I guess children we now be taught that he was alive on the morning of 29th of April and wasn't by the end of the day, and we aren't going to go into what happened...

    And will Unity Books have to clear out their history, autobiography and music sections? Not to mention Wikipedia - is the coroner going to be attempting legal action against them?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Do we have to refer to the Japanese tactics in WW2 as “high risk aerial strike operations”?

    Those will be overseas suicides. The extension of the law to those is the one select committee error that is is being fixed.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Ah thanks. Though I'm sure there will need to be a bit of scrutiny of books, movies and websites, including the governments own Te Ara in order to purge history of that which must be forgotten.

    How does the select committee think that knowing about NZ suicides will cause others to kill themselves while knowing of foreign ones won't?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rochelle Wilson,

    Is this in part an endeavour to counter the End Of Life Choice Bill currently before the Health Select Committee?
    - so the populace won't know of deliberate peaceful exits from Life?

    Kapiti • Since Jul 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rochelle Wilson,

    Is this in part an endeavour to counter the End Of Life Choice Bill currently before the Health Select Committee?
    - so the populace won’t know of deliberate peaceful exits from Life?

    When the law changes, such a death could still be called a suspected suicide, you just couldn't describe the death as taking place in hospital.

    I will note that the End of Life Choice Bill is not at a select committee. Rather, a select committee is investigating the law generally, with a view to making recommendations.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Rochelle Wilson,

    so the populace won't know of deliberate peaceful exits from Life?

    Nah, they'll be called "victim-solicited murders" to match the current legal status. Completely different thing.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Pete white,

    I seem to remember suicides being reported as overtaking car accidents as the leading cause of death for young males quite a while ago …..

    But I may have my stats confused as I also seem to recall assults resulting in facial reconstuction surgery overtaking car accidents.as the primary reason for such operations.

    In my opiniion the amount of violence is directly related to the amount of anger people have and feel… Alcohol feeds the fire.

    Suicide for many is a loss of hope …………..

    Sometimes seeing how it could have been …………. compared to how it is

    can break your spirit.

    Our western ‘civilization’ has been grinding down and wrecking Indiginous cultures and families everywhere we have colonized.

    They were right and we were wrong ………. You should not ‘own’ the land and exploit it as you see fit.

    Society should be about The People, The People, The People

    wellington • Since May 2016 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Pete, I've removed the Soundcloud link from your comment and if you post any more I will be obliged to regard you as a spammer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

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