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Auckland businessman Leo Molloy convicted of naming Grace Millane’s killer in trial

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An Auckland businessman was sentenced to community service for naming backpacker assassin Grace Millane while a crackdown was in place.

Leo Molloy.
Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Leo Molloy was found guilty today in Auckland District Court and sentenced to 350 hours of community service for violating a crackdown order.

Molloy, who had previously pleaded guilty, was also ordered to pay a fine of $ 15,000.

Millane was murdered by Jesse Kempson, whom she met on Tinder in December 2018.

Kempson’s name was suppressed by the courts until December of last year, but was published in international media.

At the end of 2019, Kempson was tried in the Auckland High Court for Millane’s murder.

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Today, Judge Peter Winter read a summary of the facts, detailing Molloy’s use of social media on November 22, 2019.

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At the time, the jury in Millane’s murder trial was deliberating.

Judge Winter said Molloy posted to a forum on the NZ Premier Racing Community website early that morning.

Under the username “poundforfound”, Molloy wrote “This is Grace Millane’s murderer”.

He said his killer had been given a name drop because he was facing another independent rape charge.

That evening, Kempson was found guilty of murdering Millane, but his name remained deleted.

Late that night, another message was posted on the forum by Molloy, this time saying that Kempson had been employed at his sister’s restaurant bar and briefly flattered with his niece.

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Today, Molloy’s lawyer David Jones said his client should be fired without a conviction.

He said Molloy was motivated to deliver the message out of a deep sense of justice and a feeling that Millane had been shamed.

“ As the trial drew to a close, the concern he had and the frustration he felt over the unfairness of this became such that he then published the post, the morning, then later in the day when the jury was deliberating. . “

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Jones QC said Kempson’s identity was one of the worst-kept secrets that could exist and has been published elsewhere.

He also said that Molloy had shown remorse for his actions and had a good character, spending a lot of time doing charity and community work.

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A conviction could negatively impact Molloy’s veterinary registration, liquor license registration and international travel, Jones said.

Police prosecutor Danielle Houghton said the offense was serious and intentional and could have hampered the prosecution of the trials.

She said the posts came at a time of great public interest and while Kempson’s name was known to many, it was not universally known.

Judge Peter Winter said the gravity of the offense outweighed the consequences identified for Molloy.

He said Molloy was a smart man and that he knew the High Court had imposed name suppression “for a very good reason.”

Judge Winter sentenced Molloy to 350 hours of community service and fined him $ 15,000.

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