Youth Justice - Murder of Stephanie Rengel

  ANCHOR: A thing of the past as we can see right now on how Facebook has changed everything. So joining me to talk about all this, to take your calls and questions, criminal lawyer Joe Neuberger who has done a lot of work in the youth criminal justice. Welcome back to Legal Briefs. JOSEPH NEUBERGER: Thank you. ANCHOR: Happy New Year to you, Joe. JOSEPH NEUBERGER: Happy New Year. Nice to be here. ANCHOR: All right, well first of all, let's talk about the, the, the whole issue of anonymity under the act. And, and how in the world, how in the world can anybody expect in this day and age of the internet, of Facebook that anybody can be anonymous anymore and, and that youth will ever have that protection anymore? JOSEPH NEUBERGER: I agree, the world's changed. With, with the internet and the access to a computer pretty much anywhere where you want to go, cafes, wherever, anonymity is something which is slowly being eroded. I still think it's a sound principle. ANCHOR: Why? Let's talk about that. What's the principle involved? Because, because you dont have it in the United States for example. What's the principle involved right now that this 17-year-old and this 15-year-old are charged but take away the Facebook, take away internet for a, for a moment. Let's turn back the clock 15, 20 years. There would--they would be anonymous except, of course, to the people who would know them. JOSEPH NEUBERGER: Yeah. ANCHOR: What, what's, what's the policy behind that, that, that makes sense to you? JOSEPH NEUBERGER: Well the idea is to protect youth. The idea is to protect those persons in our society who we still deem as youth or children and to protect them from the ridicule and, and the--all the other sort of pressures that go on with being named publicly. And, and, you know, to truly appreciate this you have to be an accused individual. To feel what it's like to have your name published in a paper on a media report and what the fallout from that is--your family, your friends, neighbors, everything, how you get ostracized from society well before you've been proved of doing anything wrong. I mean these are incredible pressures that impact on an individual. And, and many well say well it's just. But the issue is, you know, innocence until proven otherwise, proven guilty. ANCHOR: Right. JOSEPH NEUBERGER: And at the right time when they've gone through the process and there's been a fair process, they lose their anonymity. But beforehand, I, I, I think it's very difficult to try and maintain, in my, in my opinion, a valid reason for doing away with the publication ban. I dont know how it really helps the system. ANCHOR: Well I think, I think this case alone is proof with respect to how effective the efficacy of publication bans. I mean look at--in Cynthia's story, all those posters on Facebook and the names are out there. But let, let's talk now about--and, and I'm sure we'll get a-- [Abrupt end]