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Report No. 200

(D) New South Wales (Australia): 24 hour rule applied:

The above judgment of the Scotland Court was followed by A.G for NSW v. T.C.N.Channel Nine Pty Ltd: (1990)20 NSWLR 368 in which a film of an arrested man being led around the scene of the crime by the police was shown on television with a commentary which clearly implied that he had confessed to a number of murders (which was indeed the case).

At the time of the broadcast, the man had been arrested and charge had not yet been brought before the court. The New South Wales Court of Appeal thought that as held in Hall v. Associated Newspapers, "from the moment of arrest, the person arrested is in a very real sense under the care and protection of the court". The N.S.W.Court concluded that the critical moment for contempt was the time of arrest from that moment: (p 378)

"The process and procedures of the Criminal Justice system, with all the safeguards they carry with them, applied to him and for his benefit, and. Publications with a tendency to reduce those processes, procedures and safeguards to impotence are liable to attract punishment as being in contempt of court."

and applied the principle in R v. Parke: 1903(2) KB 432 which stated that 'fountain of justice' can be polluted at its source. Thus, the Australian position appears also to be that contempt law applies from the stage of arrest whether the offence is a serious one or not, because the arrested person comes within the protection of Court.

Trial by Media free speech and fair trial under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Back

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