Child victims cannot be named‚ but protection does not extend beyond 18‚ SCA rules

When her biological family discovered the girl’s whereabouts in February 2015‚ the woman she had known as her mother was arrested on charges of kidnapping.

The matter was news not only in South Africa but also abroad. Journalists camped outside the child’s home and school. She felt forced to go into hiding.

Following her “discovery”‚ the Centre for Child Law requested the media to protect KL’s anonymity. KL turned 18 on April 18 2015 and the media wanted to name her true identity.

On April 21 2015‚ the centre obtained an interim order in the high court in Pretoria protecting the identity of children who were victims of crime.

The interim interdict formed Part A of the centre’s application and in Part B. The centre and KL sought an order declaring that‚ on a proper construction of the provision‚ child victims and witnesses do not forfeit the protection of section 154 (3) when they reach the age of 18.

On July 11 2017 Judge Wendy Hughes dismissed the application by the centre and KL‚ saying the adult extension sought was neither permissible nor required by the Constitution.

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