Cape Town - The Centre for Child Law (CCL), together with four other institutions, has launched an urgent application for interim relief barring the media from naming Zephany Nurse, who turns 18 at the end of the month, by her present-day name.
The applicants have taken 14 media houses and government institutions to court in a bid to stop the naming pending the constitutionality of it. The applicants are also finalising an application for an amendment to a section of the Criminal Procedure Act to allow for the protection of child victims from identification in the media when they turn 18.
Nurse was kidnapped from Groote Schuur Hospital three days after she was born.
“Zephany Nurse” is the name her biological parents gave her.
The woman who allegedly kidnapped Nurse has been arrested and is facing charges of kidnapping.
Ann Marie Skelton, advocate at the CCL representing Nurse, said the teen lived in fear of being identified in the media.
“(Nurse) accordingly lives in fear of being identified in the media as this would destroy any chance of her living a normal life. If, when (Nurse) turns 18 at the end of April 2015, the media publishes her identity, the substantial harm that will result can never be undone or properly remedied,” Skelton said in her founding affidavit.
Jacques Louw, instructing attorney for Independent Media, one of the 14 respondents, said Independent (to which IOL belongs) sympathised with Nurse over the concern about her identity, but were also concerned about the long-term consequences the proposed amendment to the law would have on freedom of expression.
“Independent Newspapers has decided, for the time being, not to oppose the interim order and give limited undertakings to the victim. Once the applicants have filed their supplementary papers for the constitutional amendment, we will assess the matter further.
“In the meantime the victim’s identity will remain protected, at least as far as the respondents to the current application are concerned.”