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4. Policy on the presence of media at attended hearings

Introduction:

Section 49(1) and (2) provides:

(1) An attended hearing must be run in the manner of an inquiry, and in an atmosphere that encourages persons appearing before the Board to speak for themselves, and as freely and frankly as possible.

(2) Within that context, the Board may conduct the hearing as it thinks appropriate and, subject to this section, has the following powers:

(a) to determine who may attend, and determine whether a person may attend other than in person (for instance, by telephone or video link):

(b) to determine who may speak:

(c) to impose limits on what a person may talk about and for how long:

(d) to require any person to leave the hearing, either temporarily or for the remainder of the hearing:

(e) to adjourn the hearing.

Media Policy: The policy of the Board is that it may invite media to attend hearings of the Board subject to conditions, or requests to attend may be granted subject to conditions.

If an invitation is made, or an application granted:

(1) the offender is to be advised of the attendance of media.  The consent of an offender is not a prerequisite to media attendance.

(2) that the proposed media presence at the hearing is in the public interest.

(3) that the presence of media representatives will not inhibit participants from speaking “as freely and frankly as possible”.

(4) that coverage of the hearing will not be disruptive to the way the hearing is conducted.

Note: Board hearings are held inside prisons and as such, access is controlled by the Department of Corrections.  Consent to enter a prison must be sought through separate application to the Department.

Invitations to attend, or consideration of applications for media coverage will be determined by the Board on the papers.  Regard may be had to:

(1) The principles contained in section 49;

(2) The nature of the hearing;

(3) The right to freedom of expression in section 14 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990;

(4) The general desirability of open justice;

(5) Any other relevant matters.

If the application is granted, the Board will set such conditions as it thinks fit.  The conditions may be based in part on the standard guidelines which apply to media coverage of hearings in the Courts.  The conditions may include the right to direct at any time that information or comments made are not to be reported on.  For example, the contents of psychological and other specialist reports, proposed release addresses, and the names of supporters or victims or offenders.  In addition, conditions may include who may be reported on.

Where there are multiple applications to be present, the Board has complete discretion over which (if any) application is approved.  Considerations will include the size of the hearing room.

The Board may at any time revoke its consent or vary the conditions of approval.

Hon J W Gendall QC
Chairperson
New Zealand Parole Board

Reviewed and confirmed as amended 30 November 2015