Identity protection and privacy of young offenders: Issues and challenges

Duncan Chappell, RA Lincoln

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I want to tell you first how I became involved in thinking about this issue. About three years ago now I was asked by legal aid to act as an expert witness in a case being brought by John Fairfax, publishers among other things of The Sydney Morning Herald, who were seeking to unlock the name of four persons who had been involved in a series of vicious rapes that took place in Sydney. They wanted to reveal the full names of the four Pakistani brothers MSK, MAK, MMK, MRK and to remove their identity protections, and in addition to other claims, said that they should be just not named but shamed as well (see Judgment in the Application by John Fairfax Publishing re MSK, MAK, MMK and MRK [2006] INSWCCA 386).

The case actually never reached a full blown trial and thus I didn't have to appear. This was just as well since a colleague of mine Professor Mark Findlay from the same law school, was on the other side arguing for Fairfax, or should I say he was acting as an independent expert, and he took a different view from me. However, the court decided that in NSW (which I will discuss in more detail later), which protects the identity of young people in criminal proceedings in the children's court or the adult court that there is a discretion nonetheless for the court if the interests of justice outweigh those of the individual to in fact remove the barriers for publication. In this case the court said because the application had not been brought by the prosecution at the time of the sentencing of the four brothers, there was no standing on the part of Fairfax to proceed. So the case simply represents a legal precedent on that issue.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventAustralian Institute of Criminology Conference: Indigenous Young People, Crime and Justice - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 31 Aug 20091 Sept 2009


ConferenceAustralian Institute of Criminology Conference


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