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Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Mon, 2007-09-10 22:06
Libertarian fined for fiery census protest
A political principle has proved costly for a Wellington man who burnt his census questionnaire, even though he has now filled in a form.
Nik Haden, a member of the Libertarianz party which supports individual rights and freedoms, was fined $750, with another $690 costs, on three charges in Wellington District Court yesterday.
The charges of destroying the form and failing to complete the dwelling and individual forms in March last year were found proved after a defended hearing.
Judge Carolyn Henwood had told Haden previously that it was important that he fill in the forms because it was a "continuing offence", and Haden's position became worse each day they were not completed.
Haden had been wanting a discharge without conviction because of the impact a conviction might have on his job and travel prospects.
For Statistics New Zealand, lawyer Karen Grau, said the proper forum in which to make his point was Parliament.
Judge Henwood refused to discharge him without conviction.
She said Haden had not satisfied her that the consequences of a conviction were out of proportion to the seriousness of the offence.
After the hearing Haden said he had no complaints with the outcome because he had raised the issue publicly and made his point.
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