Court suppresses name of country in NZ soldier espionage case as trial delayed

The Court Martial trial for the New Zealand Army soldier facing 17 charges, including espionage, has been delayed - possibly until next year.

At a pre-trial hearing at Linton Military Camp, Chief Judge Kevin Riordan told the court it needs more time to consider what evidence can and can't be used at trial by the Crown and Defence.

The soldier, who was 27-year-old at the time of the alleged offending, is facing 17 charges:

  • Four charges of espionage
  • Two charges of attempted espionage
  • Two charges of possession of an objectionable publication
  • Three charges of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose
  • One charge of doing an act likely to prejudice Service discipline or bring discredit on the Service
  • One charge of negligently failing to perform a duty
  • Four charges of failing to comply with written orders

Interim name suppression for the soldier and his wife has been continued until the next pre-trial hearing. Heavy suppressions are in place preventing the publication of his rank and role within the New Zealand Defence Force.

He appeared for the first time on Monday via video link wearing full military uniform, but didn't speak during the proceedings other than to confirm his name.

Many suppressions will be in place for the Court Martial trial, specifically around evidence, key and expert witnesses.

Some of the charges relating to espionage relate to a foreign country, the name of which has also been suppressed by the court.

New pre-trial or Court Martial dates haven't been set.