14 Jul 2009

Website, talkback coverage of murder trial draws complaints

6:26 am on 14 July 2009

The Crown Law Office has received several complaints relating to coverage of the Clayton Weatherston case.

Former university tutor Clayton Weatherston is on trial at the High Court in Christchurch, accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Sophie Elliot in Dunedin last year. He denies the charge of murder but admits manslaughter.

Several websites have commented publicly on the case, offering opinions on whether he is guilty.

The Crown Law Office says it has received complaints alleging contempt of court against the websites, and also against a talkback programme carried by Mediaworks station Radio Live.

The office is refusing to discuss the matter until the trial is over, but says all complaints are looked into and senior lawyers are available to deal with them.

One of the websites was a Facebook group which had more than 700 members. Its creator, Gregory Edwards, said on Monday evening he would close the site.

Radio Live says the Crown Law Office is yet to contact it regarding the complaint. Director of programming Mitch Harris says the station reminds its hosts and programme producers regularly about what the law is.