Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker has finally been identified as the high-profile sports star connected to a methamphetamine operation and scandal.
Parker, who recently lost his appeal to keep his identity a secret from the public, first became implicated in the operation when his name was mentioned as a “connected person” in a major trial back in 2019. Three men were eventually found guilty on various criminal charges all related to the smuggling of amphetamine into New Zealand from California.
Although argued by the Crown to have been connected to the crimes both in terms of buying methamphetamine as well as exchanging New Zealand currency for U.S. dollars, Parker was never formally charged alongside Tevita Matangi Fangupo, Toni Rajendra Finau, and Tevita Sitanilei Kulu.
It isn’t clear why police never charged Parker, or why they failed to execute a search warrant on his home, but according to Justice Mathew Downs’ ruling, the media had the right to demand an explanation from the force regarding this – as does the public.
Parker’s bid to have his name kept secret passed through five judicial rounds before reaching a dead end before Justice Downs in the High Court following a failed application to seek leave of the Supreme Court to continue his plight for secrecy.
According to Justice Downs’ ruling, it had been necessary to strike the correct balance between the Kiwi former world champion boxer’s own personal and business interests, and the New Zealand public’s right to know what happens in criminal courts in the country. His ultimate conclusion was that even though Parker would undoubtedly suffer undue difficulties and hardship at having his identity revealed, it would have been “artificial” to suppress the sportsman’s name.
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