Sunday, October 16, 2011

Re: Petition for radio and television coverage of the multiple murder cases against Maguindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, et al., A.M. No. 10-11-5-SC/A.M. No. 10-11-6-SC/A.M. No. 10-11-7-SC. June 14, 2011.

Right to fair trial v. freedom of the press.  (J. Abad)

On the possible influence of media coverage on the impartiality of trial court judges, the Court found that prejudicial publicity insofar as it undermines the right to a fair trial must pass the “totality of circumstances” test, applied in People v. Teehankee, Jr. and Estrada v. Desierto, that the right of an accused to a fair trial is not incompatible to a free press, that pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to a fair trial, and that there must be allegation and proof of the impaired capacity of a judge to render a bias-free decision. Mere fear of possible undue influence is not tantamount to actual prejudice resulting in the deprivation of the right to a fair trial.

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