Not guilty plea in blackmail case

Name suppression has lapsed for a 37-year-old New Brighton man who denies a charge of blackmail.

Brett John Sargisson denied two charges at an appearance before a Christchurch District Court registrar yesterday, and was remanded on continued bail to a Crown case review on June 12.

The blackmail charge alleges the offence took place on September 29 at Christchurch when the police say Sargisson threatened to disclose historic sexual offending by a man unless he was paid $40,000.

A second charge under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, dated March 1, alleges he posted a Facebook post with intent to cause harm to the man and caused him “serious emotional distress”.

Sargisson’s name was initially published online when he first appeared in court on March 8, but a duty lawyer later obtained an order from a registrar granting interim suppression, and the name had to be deleted from coverage.

That order lapsed today when Sargisson’s assigned defence counsel, Ethan Huda, did not seek its continuation.

The appearance before a registrar yesterday meant Sargisson’s case did not need to be called before a judge.


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