TVNZ allowed to show Rainbow Warrior court footage

Monday, August 7, 2006

Television New Zealand (TVNZ) has today won a legal battle in which they will now be able to broadcast footage of two French spies pleading guilty to manslaughter in relation to the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.

The two French spies, Alan Mafart and Dominique Prieur, have been fighting TVNZ to keep it from broadcasting footage where they are shown pleading guilty of manslaughter for the killing of freelance photographer Fernando Pereira during the 1985 bombing of Rainbow Warrior.

Three Court of Appeal judges decided unanimously to uphold a 2005 High Court judgement. They ruled that "The privacy interests of the two spies did not outweigh the public interest in the the [sic] case, given its historic significance." The Appeal Court also added that the reason they dismissed the appeal was because the two spies "Have published books about their actions, saying they have effectively courted publicity and diminished their privacy interests."

TVNZ had originally wanted to broadcast the footage on its Sunday 20-year anniversary special on the July 10, 1985 bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. Damien Comerford, executive producer of TVNZ's Sunday programme, said "The footage is hugely significant."