Protocol for the application of the in-court media coverage guidlines to particular criminal proceedings in the District Court.
This protocol recognises that the procedures for applications for in-court media coverage (ICMC) in the guidelines need refinement to allow for the particular circumstances surrounding the exercise of the criminal jurisdiction of the District Court.
In particular, the following matters need to be recognised:
That given the need to ascertain the views of the prosecutor and defendant on any application before it is considered, and that applications need to be filed not later than three full working days before the intended day of coverage. Generally applications can only be dealt with on the papers and the opportunity for a hearing will not usually arise.
That each judicial officer is entitled to control what happens in his or her court. The guidelines recognise this principle by providing that applications be made to the trial judge. The judges in the District Court will not grant permission for ICMC in any court other than the court in which they will be presiding. This same principle applies to courts to be presided over by justices of the peace or community magistrates. District Court judges will not consider applications that relate to a court to be presided over by a justice of the peace or community magistrate. Those judicial officers will decide whether ICMC is to be permitted in their court.
Unless specific provision to the contrary is made in this protocol the guidelines apply.
Definition "Judicial officer" means a judge, justice of the peace or community magistrate.
Any person who wishes to cover a hearing must apply to the judicial officer who is to preside at the hearing.
Any such application must be lodged with the registrar of the court in which the hearing is to take place not later than three clear working days before the day of the hearing. The presiding judicial officer may abridge the time for the filing of the application.
An application should be made by email to facilitate prompt referral to the presiding judicial officer and the parties.
The application should contain sufficient particulars of the nature of the coverage, including the duration of any such coverage, to enable the judicial officer to assess the degree to which the coverage will intrude on the proceedings.
On receipt of the application the registrar must refer the application promptly to:
a. the judicial officer who is to preside at the hearing
b. the prosecutor
c. the defendant's lawyer or the defendant personally, if the defendant is unrepresented.
Response to the application
Within one working day of receipt of the application, any party receiving it must notify the registrar, the media applicant, and any other party in writing:
a. that the application is not opposed or
b. that the application is opposed and the reasons for the opposition. (Any response should be made by email to facilitate the prompt referral of the response to the judge and the other parties.)
In sexual cases the prosecutor must notify the registrar of the complainant's views about the application.
Decision on the papers or after hearing
A judicial officer may grant or decline an application on the papers without convening a hearing, or may convene a formal hearing or telephone conference.