Media shut out of courtroom over Australia Day deaths
A leading criminal lawyer says there is a lack of guidelines when it comes to whether the media can report on Children’s Court proceedings.
It comes after the media were not allowed to cover a mention of the teenager charged over the deaths of Kate Leadbetter and Matt Fields on Australia Day.
Bill Potts, the immediate past president of the Queensland Law Society from Potts Lawyers, explained more on 4BC Drive.
“It’s a bit of a conundrum because as most of your listeners would know the phrase, for justice to be done it has to be seen to be done,” he told Scott Emerson.
“Not every member of the public can be in the court at all so we rely upon a fair and proper media to come along to provide clarity to provide reporting to tell us what occurred and why it occurred.
“The general principle is that courts should be open, however the Children’s Court has special provisions to effectively balance the public’s right to know, against the special needs or interests of a child.”
The media can apply to cover the proceedings, but in this case were rejected.
“What is lacking here, is any real guideline to either the media or the magistrates as to how they should exercise that discretion.”
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