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Court of Appeal Dismisses Actions Against TVNZ

7 August 2006

Court of Appeal Dismisses Actions Against TVNZ

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against TVNZ by two former French Secret Service agents – Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur.

Marfart and Prieur appealed to the Court to stop TVNZ screening video footage of the criminal proceedings in which they pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The videotape was supposed to play during a SUNDAY documentary on the 20th anniversary of the bombing of 'The Rainbow Warrior' last year.

TVNZ Head of News and Current Affairs Bill Ralston said today's judgment was particularly satisfying after having battled the appeal for the past year.

"This decision is a significant victory for media freedom in this country and a victory for the rights of the public as well."

The Court of Appeal also today allowed TVNZ's appeal against an injunction stopping broadcast of another videotape containing a confession of murder.

In 1995 Noel Rogers was tried for the murder of Katherine Sheffield. During the trial a videotape showing Mr Rogers participating in a reconstruction of Ms. Sheffield's killing was ruled inadmissible by the Court as Police had breached Mr Rogers' rights under the Bill of Rights.

Mr Rogers was subsequently acquitted of the charges.

In 2004, TVNZ obtained a copy of the videotape and was intending to broadcast parts of it in its current affairs programme SUNDAY. Mr Rogers applied for an injunction which was granted by the High Court.

Bill Ralston says part of the video will be shown on ONE NEWS tonight and will also be used in a lengthier piece on SUNDAY this weekend.


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