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FROM ANONYMITY TO ACCOUNTABILITY: REFORMS IN MEDIA REPORTING ON SEXUAL OFFENCES IN QUEENSLAND



FROM ANONYMITY TO ACCOUNTABILITY: REFORMS IN MEDIA REPORTING ON SEXUAL OFFENCES IN QUEENSLANDFROM ANONYMITY TO ACCOUNTABILITY: REFORMS IN MEDIA REPORTING ON SEXUAL OFFENCES IN QUEENSLAND

There has been a recent and significant overhaul regarding media reporting on sexual offences in Queensland in October 2023. These amendments alter the reporting constraints – bringing forth a change that not only upholds “open justice” principles but also reshapes the rights of the accused.


Changes To Reporting Constraints | Who is Affected?


A shift from longstanding laws now allows media outlets to publish the identities of individuals accused of sexual offences at any stage of legal proceedings.


Prior to amendments, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1978 previously prohibited the publication of a defendant's details until they were committed to a higher court.


This change impacts reporting restrictions that historically shielded both complainants and defendants.

The recent amendment aligns Queensland media with the other states, as prohibition of identification is now limited to complainants only.


With accused individuals now being susceptible to identification in media, the line between what is called "open justice" and safeguarding the rights of the accused becomes blurred.


Non-Publication Orders


As Queensland embraces this paradigm shift, the process of seeking non-publication orders demands careful consideration.


Section 7B of the Act outlines three grounds justifying such orders.


Courts consider factors such as:

  • public interest;

  • complainant's views;

  • cultural nuances;

  • potential rural community impact; and

  • the history of the relationship between complainant and defendant.


Navigating these complexities requires strategic legal counsel, especially for those contemplating non-publication order applications.


Safeguard Your Rights


If you're grappling with a sexual offence charge it is crucial to engage a professional team of criminal lawyers to assist you. Understanding these changes isn't just an option; it's a crucial step towards safeguarding your rights.

For personalised assistance or more information, contact us today.


Contact Creevey Horrell Criminal Lawyers


Based in Brisbane, Roma, Toowoomba, and Townsville.

Visit www.chcriminallawyers.com.au/contact-us to contact us today.



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