Media access has been blocked for all evidence at the depositions hearing of child assault charges against a Christchurch professional musician, James Louis Mason.
The preliminary hearing was held before Caroline Kellaway and Percy Acton-Adams, Justices of the Peace, in the Christchurch District Court today, and Mason was committed for trial.
But the JPs refused a radio application for recording the evidence, and another media application for in-court photography.
When Mason’s defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger indicated that the evidence of all four prosecution witnesses would be handed to the JPs in written form, the eight reporters present made a joint application to see the briefs of evidence.
Miss Bulger opposed the application because she would have wanted the opportunity to have some sections of the evidence suppressed, and the JPs decided to decline the application.
Mason, 49, has been charged with assaulting his two sons aged two and four, and the case is attracting media attention because it may be a test of the anti-smacking laws.
Will they find him guilty? I don't think so, it would just reinforce in the minds of New Zealanders that the law is bad, invasive and pointless. I think they'll let him off (even though he has broken the law), let's wait and see.