Media Law Newsletter – August 2014

posted in Uncategorized on by

Media Newsletter 2

You can read the Webber Wentzel Media Newsletter here.

In this issue:

Recent work by the Webber Wentzel Media Team:

Griekwastad convicted murderer turns 18 — now may we identify him?

posted in Musings on Media on by

By Dario Milo and Stuart Scott

Journalists need to take great care, from a legal and ethical perspective, when reporting on cases involving a child accused. This post deals only with the legal position.  Under our law, section 154(3) of the Criminal Procedure Act provides that no person shall publish any information which reveals or even which may reveal the identity of an accused, or witness in criminal proceedings, who is under the age of 18 unless the presiding judicial officer authorises the publication of such information. Breaching the provision is a serious criminal offence and those found guilty could be sentenced to a fine or 5 years’ imprisonment (or even both).

The position in relation to a child accused is thus reasonably clear. But what happens when a child accused attains majority during criminal proceedings or where a teenager is convicted turns 18 and there is a pending appeal? These questions have been brought sharply into focus as the teenager, who was sentenced on 13 August 2014 to 20 years in prison for the so-called Griekwastad murders, reportedly turns 18 today.

Continue reading

A mistrial for Oscar Pistorius? We think not

posted in Musings on Media on by

by Dario Milo and Stuart Scott

On Sunday night, Australia’s Channel 7 broadcast a video showing Oscar Pistorius apparently re-enacting various moments from the night he killed Reeva Steenkamp.

The footage was reportedly filmed in October 2013 by a US company, The Evidence Room, and reports say that it was commissioned by the defence team to assist with trial preparation in order to reconstruct Oscar’s version of events.

Since the broadcast, there has been a cloudburst of media attention dedicated to the issue and what it means for the trial.  Indeed, various reports around the world have used buzz words like “mistrial” quite liberally.

But could the publication of the video down under amount to a mistrial?

We submit not.

Continue reading

The Oscar Trial and the curious case of the media orders

posted in Musings on Media on by

by Dario Milo and Stuart Scott

In an article we wrote for Sunday Times last week we briefly touched on three orders relating to the media that we submit were incorrectly made by Judge Masipa during the Oscar Pistorius trial (for more detail on the first two orders see the earlier post on broadcasting the Oscar trial).

The third order in question related to the banning of any further publication of the exhibits marked “PPP” and “QQQ” (essentially the psychiatric and psychological reports compiled while Oscar was at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital), which went beyond the official findings that were read into the record during proceedings.

Continue reading

Trial rulings throw up a media freedom paradox

posted in Musings on Media on by
Trial rulings throw up a media freedom paradox by Dario Milo and Stuart Scott

                  by Dario Milo and Stuart Scott published in Sunday Times 6 July 2014