Unless the accused person consents, it is an offence under section 71A of the Evidence Act 1929 (SA) to publish the identity of an accused person, any evidence or report on proceedings relating to sexual offences by an accused person before:
- the accused is committed for trial or sentence (when charged with a minor or major indictable offence and the accused elects to be tried by a superior court); or
- the accused pleads guilty or is found guilty (when charged with a summary offence or minor indictable offence); or otherwise
- the charge is dismissed or the proceedings lapse (for example, by reason of death of the accused).Maximum penalty : $10 000 for a person, $120 000 for a corporation
However, under subsection 71A(3), the court may make a publication order, varying or removing the restriction on publishing and reporting altogether, if satisfied that it may assist with the investigation of an offence or is otherwise in the public interest. On such an application, the court will hear from all those with a 'proper interest' in the matter and will make findings of fact on the balance of probabilites without necessarily taking evidence.
Similar provisions apply to victims of sexual offences. A victim's identity may be published with the victim's consent or the judge's authorisation [s 71A(4)]. The same penalty applies to unlawful publication of victim's identity information.
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