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'Protection afforded to offenders, witnesses must extend to child witnesses'

The Centre for Child Law is asking that when the media reports on crimes or the courts, that children are not identified.

Picture: Supplied

PRETORIA -The Centre for Child Law has argued that the rights of child victims of crime should be protected in the same way child offenders and witnesses are protected.

The centre has approached the High Court in Pretoria to amend sections of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The case stems from the matter of Zephany Nurse who was kidnapped at birth but discovered her biological parents at the age of 17.

The media wanted to identify her when she turned 18.

Advocate Steven Budlender says the court must consider the constitutional question of whether child victims of crime are included in the protection offered in the Criminal Procedure Act.

He argues that the protection afforded to offenders and witnesses must extend to child witnesses.

Budlender adds that such protection must not be forfeited when they turn 18.

The advocate says all they’re asking is that when the media reports on crimes or the courts that children are not identified.

He stressed that this is not an attempt to prohibit reporting on such matters.

Several media houses are opposing the application, arguing that protecting child victims of crime unjustifiably limits freedom of expression.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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