A District Court judge on Friday lifted his ban on internet publication of the names and images of two men accused of murder.

Judge David Harvey made the order when Nathan Tuiti Reo Mutunga Williams, 23, and Daniel Bobby Tumata, 22, appeared in Manukau Youth Court on August 25 charged with murdering 14-year-old John Hapeta in Weymouth, south Auckland.

The case is before the youth court because Williams and Tumata face other charges jointly with a 15-year-old boy.

Until Friday Judge Harvey only allowed publication of the two murder accuseds’ names and images in newspapers and on television and their names to be broadcast on radio, but not on the internet — including blogs.

He cited “the viral effect of digital publication” and concerns the public would search for their names on search engines such as Google.

After hearing submissions last Friday from media organisations against the internet publication ban, Harvey removed the restrictions.

Lawyers representing APN, Fairfax, TVNZ, TV3’s owner MediaWorks, Radio New Zealand and NZPA argued that online publication would not risk prejudicing the accused men’s rights to a fair trial, so there was nothing to warrant interference with freedom of expression.