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Cape Town – Judgment has been reserved in the Constitutional Court in a case dealing with the protection of the identities of child victims, witnesses and offenders before and after they turn 18 years old.

Earlier this week, the court heard the case of Centre for Child Law, which had argued, on behalf of Zephany Nurse, that the protection of the identities of children involved in crimes was necessary once they reached adulthood in order to prevent significant and lifelong harm.

The legal battle was started when Zephany, who was 17 years and nine months old when she was discovered by her biological parents, had learnt the media planned to identify her by the name she now goes by.

Zephany was kidnapped from Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997 when she was just two days old, and for 17 years she believed the people she lived with were her biological family.

Zephany was reunited with her biological family in 2015 when she and her younger biological sister were enrolled at the same school and pupils remarked on how alike they looked.

“The order protecting Zephany’s identity, part 1, was followed by part 2 of the case in which we argued that the identities of all child victims, child witnesses and child offenders should be protected from the harm of exposure in the media and that such protection should continue beyond the age of 18 years.

“The high court agreed that protection should be granted before the children turn 18 years, but did not agree with the extension of such protection after they turn 18 years. The matter was appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal,” the centre stated.