Suppression granted to Woodend murder accused

Name suppression was granted to an 18-year-old man charged with the murder of a man whose body was found on a Woodend property at the weekend.

The suppression was requested by defence counsel James Rapley, when the man appeared at a  Christchurch District Court hearing before Judge Paul Kellar today. The judge granted the order.

The teenager, who lives in rural Canterbury, was remanded in custody to appear again in the High Court on July 20.

He is charged with murdering 20-year-old Oliver Johnston between June 23 and 28.

Police found Mr Johnston’s body on a property at Woodend after a search at the weekend. He had been missing for a week.

Mr Rapley said his client was only 18, which would be a significant factor in a bail application he wished to prepare. He said he may seek to have that application heard earlier than the remand date allocated.

He asked for name suppression because he had not yet had the opportunity to discuss matters with the man, or with health professionals who may be asked to consider the case. He asked for suppression to “preserve his position”.

With police inquiries continuing it was important to ensure there was no suggestion of “contamination and mixing of memories”, he said.

Police prosecutor Steve Burdes said the police did not oppose the interim name suppression.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *