No image ban for Russell John Tully
A judge has refused an order that would stop media continuing to use images of Ashburton double-murder accused Russell John Tully.
The application for the image ban was put forward by Tully's defence counsel Trudi Aickin in the Christchurch High Court today, three days after his appearance in court on two charges of murder and one of attempted murder.
Justice Christian Whata refused the order but suppressed all the discussions, which took place before his ruling - about an hour of legal argument.
He allowed publication of the ruling, and said he would issue a more detailed decision later in the day.
He declined Tully's application to suppress images, but he granted a Crown application for suppression of any closed-circuit television footage of the alleged offender, and he reserved leave for the Crown to seek further suppression orders if other moving images came to light later.
He warned the media that his decision not to suppress images should not be taken as a licence to directly implicate the defendant in the offending, and they must remain cognisant of his rights to a fair trial.
Media should be careful about reporting as the case moved into its pre-trial and trial process, he said.
At the request of the Crown, he emphasised that the media should treat the families of the victims with "basic decency" and respect their privacy.
Robert Stewart appeared at the hearing as counsel for mainstream media organisations, including Fairfax Media, and Andrew McRae, the Timaru prosecutor, appeared for the Crown.