Court grapples with Newsroom’s banned story

Crown lawyers endure strong questioning from a panel of judges as Newsroom goes to court to overturn a ban on a video investigation into Oranga Tamariki.  Tim Murphy reports.

Newsroom has gone to the Court of Appeal to try to reverse a near three-year ban ordered by the High Court on publication of a video investigation into a ‘reverse uplift’ by Oranga Tamariki.

The injunction, sought by the Solicitor-General Una Jagose after the investigation by Newsroom’s Melanie Reid was published in November 2020, had been granted on an interim basis by Justice Francis Cooke. The video and associated stories have been unavailable to the public since then.

Jagose had liaised with Newsroom over some changes she deemed necessary to the video under the law, but despite assertions of continued discussions, unilaterally broke that process off before seeking an injunction stopping publication.

Justice Cooke also ordered Newsroom to pay $14,000 towards the Crown’s costs.

Separately, Crown Law referred the video to the police, who have subsequently chosen to lay a criminal charge against Newsroom in Christchurch for breaching the Family Court Act. That case is on hold awaiting the result of this Court of Appeal hearing.

Oranga Tamariki and the Crown argued elements of the video breached the Family Court law by including identifying factors of four children involved in a removal of them by the children’s agency from a ‘home for life’ with foster parents and back to recently located whānau.

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