NZ Government secretariat told Kensington Palace to delete tweets of young Christchurch victim

A unit of a New Zealand Government agency told Kensington Palace to delete its tweets identifying a young victim of the Christchurch terror attack.

The account, which represents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, posted a photo and a video of Prince William meeting a five-year-old girl who was injured in the shooting.

Both tweets included her full name, which breaches the automatic suppression granted to all complainants and witnesses under 18.

After Newshub published an article about the tweets on Monday evening, the Kensington Palace account deleted both of them.

Newshub has since learned that Government secretariat Cabinet Office told the Royal Family to do so.

"We advised Kensington Palace to take down the posts after we became aware of concerns about suppression matters," Secretary of the Cabinet Michael Webster said in a statement.

"We take those concerns very seriously and regret any inadvertent breach of suppression orders."

A spokesperson told Newshub they believed Webster was the one to initiate contact with Kensington Palace.

Cabinet Office is a unit of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet that provides impartial support to central Government decision-making processes. 

Several New Zealand media outlets reported the girl's full name before the High Court ruled that 39 of the most injured victims of the attack be granted name suppression.

Because the girl was one of the subjects of the defendant's attempted murder charge, she is now a complainant and therefore cannot be identified under section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.

Overseas media outlets don't legally have to abide by New Zealand's famously tight suppression laws, which is why many have published images of the alleged Christchurch gunman despite a court ruling preventing local media from doing the same.

However, international media will often respect local legal rulings in their coverage to avoid jeopardising the trial.

Kensington Palace has not responded to Newshub's request for comment, so their reasons for complying with our laws and deleting the tweets can only be guessed at. It may have been as much a PR strategy as an act of courtesy, as it's a bad look for a head of state to break Commonwealth law.


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