Law restricts PI reporting

When a preliminary inquiry is held to determine if there is sufficient evidence to send a matter to Grand Court, the law limits what can be reported about the proceedings.

Details that may be reported are set out in the Criminal Procedure Code.

The name of the magistrate holding the PI may be reported, along with the names of the attorneys for the Crown and Defence.

The name, address, occupation and age of the accused person may be reported, along with a summary of the charge or charges.

Witnesses’ names, addresses, occupations and ages may be included.

Reports may state whether the accused person was granted a legal aid certificate.

The decision of the court to commit the accused to Grand Court or to adjourn proceedings may be reported.

It is not unlawful to publish or broadcast a report of proceedings containing any other matter when the magistrate determines not to commit the accused person to Grand Court.

If the person is committed to Grand Court, it is not unlawful to report proceedings of the PI after the conclusion of his Grand Court trial.

Other laws apply when a young person is involved. Generally, nothing may be reported that would lead to his or her identity.

The same rule applies to rape cases: no matter should be published or broadcast that is likely to lead members of the public to identify the person against whom the offence was allegedly committed.