Police investigate video used in Court

The Ministry of Justice Courts and Administration has lodged a formal complaint with the Police in relation to a video that recorded live a Supreme Court session.  

The currently standing policy of the Court is that video recording or taking of photos inside any Courtroom while it is in session is prohibited.

However, last week during a bail application the session was recorded live and posted on social media. 

The illegal act in the Courtroom compelled senior journalist Lagi Keresoma to write to the M.J.C.A. Chief Executive Officer, Papali’i John Taimalelagi, in relation to incidences where the media were mistreated, scolded and abuse outside Court for taking photos or videos to go with their articles or news reports. 

In her email to the CEO, Keresoma of Talamua News noted an incident where a former reporter was removed from inside the Court room, because she took a photo of the defendant standing in the witness box giving evidence.    

“Police and Court officials are very strict against the media and anyone taking photos or videos during proceedings."

“For the media, it is in our Code of Ethics and Code of Practise which guides our work and the media have respected and abide by this ethics, especially the Ministry of Justice Court and Administration policy—not to disturb Court proceedings."  

“However, recently a photo of several E.F.K.S. church ministers standing in the Court on charges against them emerged from the social media and on a lawyer's Facebook page; then a video clip of the court proceedings (named) was also circulated on Facebook. The video was also taken during Court proceedings.” 

According to Keresoma, both incidents occurred during the Court proceedings, which raises the question of why Court officials allow the public to take pictures in Court when the media is ban from doing so.

“Ethically, this should not be happening, because if the public is allowed, then the same opportunity should be granted to the media. “I hope you can address this with your Court officials. The media is always ready to support the Ministry by honoring the Ministry's policy,” said Keresoma. 

In response, Papali’i said the matter has been referred to the Police for investigation. 

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