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The Centre for Child Law will appeal a decision by the high court in Pretoria not to extend identity protection to victims involved in criminal court proceedings once they turn 18.

The case was initiated when Zephany Nurse, at the age of 17, discovered she had been kidnapped as a baby.

When Zephany turned 18, the case against the woman who kidnapped her went to court, but she did not want the media to publish the identity she currently lives with.

Zephany then turned to the Centre for Child Law (CCL) for assistance and an urgent high court application resulted in an order that protected her identity.

Following that, a case brought by applicants CCL, on behalf of Childline, Nicro and Media Monitoring Africa, challenged sections of the Criminal Procedure Act.

They argued Section 154(3) of the Act protects the identity of children who are accused of committing offences or are witnesses in criminal proceedings, but there were limitations that needed to be addressed.

Experts including child justice expert, Professor Ann Skelton; psychologist in the field of adolescent psychology Dr Giada Del Fabbro; and former Childline director Arina Smit, submitted evidence outlining the harm caused by the identification of children.

Justice and Correctional Service Minister Michael Masutha was a respondent, along with several media companies, and supported the applicants’ case.

It was the media's case that it is required to exercise special care in matters of rights and dignity, privacy and reputation.

Judge Wendy Hughes said: “I take cognisance of the fact that in certain instances the extension would work in favour of some rights, like the right to privacy, while working against others, like the right to freedom of expression.

"I am nor convinced that the extension sought is permissible nor required by our constitution.”