Media lawyer John-Paul Cashen talks to The Australian about a ‘clamp on youth crime media reports’

Author: Olivia Caisley

Victims of young criminals would effectively be banned from having stories published about how the crimes had affected them, under a warning from the Children’s Court of Victoria that seeks to stop news ­reports that could “embarrass or stigmatise” the youths.

….Senior media lawyer John-Paul Cashen, who represents The Australian, Herald Sun, the Nine Network and the Seven Network, said the warning was not supported by the legislation.

In a response to the Children’s Court letter, he wrote: “Our clients intend to identify and show images of eyewitnesses and victims, in circumstances where doing so does not otherwise identify a child or other party to, or a witness in the proceeding.”

Mr Cashen said last night that while the legislation had not been changed, the court’s interpretation effectively meant the media would be unable to identify any witnesses to youth crimes in case they were later called as a witness in a court proceeding.

“Under Victorian legislation you can’t identify children who are parties to a Children’s Court proceedings — the media knows and understands that — but it’s never extended to all eyewitnesses,” he said. “The natural effect of this is that important stories don’t get told because key details are no longer publishable.”…

To read the article in full go to The Australian website