The Auckland businessman facing a charge of assaulting police has this morning outed himself - it’s viaduct restaurateur and one time Super City mayoral candidate Leo Molloy.
The owner of the HQ bar on Auckland’s Viaduct Basin instructed his new lawyer Quentin Duff that he no longer wants or needs name suppression over an alleged incident in July 2023, where police claim the 1.65m ex-jockey assaulted a 1.95cm team policing cop, and obstructed a female officer.
On Monday morning, Molloy again appeared in the Auckland District Court before Judge Kathryn Maxwell, where Duff said the name suppression application had been abandoned.
He earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges of assaulting a police officer and obstructing another officer.
Judge Maxwell remanded Molloy at large until his next court date on April 3 in the same court.
The complainant in the alleged assault, carrying a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a $4000 fine, is a male police constable.
Molloy told the Herald he only sought suppression on those charges at the time because of potential issues with his liquor licence application with the Auckland Liquor Licensing Authority.
“My legal advice was it would not be in my best interest to have my name in the media, as that could open the floodgates to a number of objections over the variance to the liquor licence HQ had applied for,” Molloy, 67, said.
“In the end, there were six objections - two from Invercargill. No one showed at the hearing and the variances were granted. Had my name been public, I think there would have been over 200 objections. My priority was to protect the 40+workers who I employ to make sure their jobs were safe.
“Now that’s been sorted, I have instructed my lawyer that I not longer need name suppression, and I will defend the charges.”
Molloy has been a outspoken critic of people who hide behind name suppression. He was fined in 2021 for breaching suppression when he named Grace Millane’s killer Jesse Shane Kempson to a website chat group. Though the social media reach of this group was limited, Molloy was convicted and fined $15,000 and ordered to do 350 hours community work.
“I make no apologies for outing that scum bag Kempson because he’s a psychopath and his defence team was slut-shaming Grace Millane, and her family didn’t need that,” Molloy said.
“Now the liquor variance issues have been dealt with, I’m happy to deal with these allegations.
“I’m hopeful common sense will prevail.”
The charges stemmed from an alleged incident on July 15, 2023, after an All Blacks test match, at the HQ bar. He was charged about three months later and first appeared in court on October 11.
HQ bar at Auckland's Viaduct. Photo / Supplied
Joseph Los’e is an award winning journalist and joined NZME in 2022 as Kaupapa Māori Editor. Los’e was a chief reporter, news director at the Sunday News newspaper covering crime, justice and sport. He was also editor of the NZ Truth and prior to joining NZME worked for Te Whānau o Waipareira.
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