A soldier accused of espionage has had his interim name suppression extended in a pre-trial court-martial hearing today.

He’s facing 17 charges, including four of espionage, two of attempted espionage, and two of possessing an objectionable publication.

The man was arrested in December 2019 and appeared via audio-visual link at the Linton Military Camp today.

Chief Judge Kevin Riordan said his name suppression would be extended until the next hearing when they would hear further matters.

He requested the man’s mental health be assessed in relation to the offences.

The names of multiple Crown witnesses and the nature of their work had also been suppressed, as well as the country referred to in the charges.

Riordan rejected a request from the Crown that journalists covering the case be police vetted before hearing restricted information, stating that it would be dangerous constitutional territory.

Kristin Wilson, representing NZME and RNZ, had argued that harm the Crown sought to avoid wouldn’t be addressed by police vetting the media.

Riordan said it could have large practical and constitutional consequences, and they would deal with “difficulties” on a case-by-case basis.

Riordan also said the trial, which was due to happen next month, would be delayed.

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