Pretoria – The High Court in Pretoria is expected to hear arguments by the Centre for Child Law (CCL) on Thursday on the protection of the identity of children who are witnesses in criminal matters.
According to CCL, the media started interpreting the protections offered by the law as ending when the child turns 18 years old.
“The media threatened to reveal the identity of kidnap victim Zephany Nurse, and an urgent application had to be brought to prevent that from happening.
"That led to a bigger case brought by Centre for Child Law, Childline, Nicro and Medio Monitoring Africa as well as Zephany who is referred to as KL in the court papers," CCL said.
The respondents are 12 media houses, which includes Media24.
CCL would argue that the protection for child victims should continue beyond the age of 18 years.
The court case stems from the Zephany Nurse matter which was heard last year.
CCL said certain newspapers threatened to publish her identity as soon as she turned 18 years.
Zephany was kidnapped while her mother slept just days after giving birth. The woman who kidnapped her was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.
The woman was arrested in February 2015 after the teenager’s true identity came to light when the girl's biological sister Cassidy, who is four years younger, told her parents that a girl in matric at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.
DNA tests confirmed the teenager was Zephany.
The kidnapper, however, said she got the baby from a woman called Sylvia, who had been giving her fertility treatment in 1997 after she had miscarried.
Zephany, now 19, currently lives in Steenberg with the man she thought was her father.
- News24 is a part of the 24.com division which falls under Media24.