TVNZ wins court battle to screen Rainbow Warrior court footage

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TNVZ logo.

New Zealand broadcast company, Television New Zealand (TVNZ), has won a 20 year court battle to show court footage of Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur pleading guilty to the manslaughter of photographer, Fernando Pereira during the 1985 bombing of Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior. The Supreme Court dismissed the pair's request of appeal and has ordered that they pay NZ$2,500 to TVNZ.

The Supreme Court said: "The pair pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1985 in circumstances hard to imagine ever being repeated in this country."

TVNZ had originally won the rights to screen the footage on August 7, 2006 after the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal made by the French Secret Service. A lawyer acting on behalf of Mafart and Prieur stopped TVNZ from rebroadcasting the footage.

TVNZ say they are "overjoyed at the result."

Bill Ralston, head of news and current affairs for TVNZ, said: "It has been an incredibly long and dogged fight to bring these pictures to the public. This is a significant triumph for media freedom and hopefully demonstrates to the French (and any other Government, corporate or individual) that the New Zealand media will not be intimidated into submission by legal stonewalling. Best of all, a whole new generation of New Zealanders will now get to be eyewitness to a pivotal moment in our country's history."

TV One, owned by TVNZ, will screen the footage on October 1, 2006 on Sunday.

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