New Zealand Police v Hicks  NZDC 6846
Published 16 April 2019
Causing harm by posting digital communication — discharge without conviction — Z v R  NZCA 607 — Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, s 22 —
Sentencing Act 2002, s 106.
The defendant pleaded guilty to one charge of causing harm by posting a digital communication, and applied to be discharged without conviction. The police did
not oppose the application.
The defendant had emailed pictures to the complainant and three mutual friends; he thought the complainant had disclosed personal information about him.
The offending had had a significant impact on the complainant.
In deciding whether to grant the application, the Court had to follow the three-step process set out in Z v R: consider the gravity of the offending; identify the
consequences of conviction on the defendant; and consider whether those consequences are out of proportion to the gravity of the offence. The Court must then
exercise its discretion whether to grant a discharge.
Taking all factors into account, the Court assessed the offending to be of low gravity. Given this, plus the defendant's guilty plea and the employment
consequences of a conviction, the Court found that a conviction would be out of proportion to the gravity of the offending. The Court granted a discharge without
conviction, but ordered the defendant to pay $500 compensation plus court costs of $130. The Court also ordered that the defendant provide a written
undertaking to permanently delete all images of the complainant. Judgment Date: 10 April 2018. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *