Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Is this the most draconian media injunction yet?

Political blogger Anna Raccoon is describing an injunction issued by the Court of Protection, which acts to protect vulnerable people, as "the most draconian injunction so far issued by any court" because it stops the news media contacting 65 people.

She says the injunction concerns a case in which the mother of a a 53 year old woman, known as 'M', who is in a ‘minimal’ conscious state, has applied to the court for permission to allow her daughter to die.

Anna Raccoon states that rather than contenting themselves with the usual demand that no party may be named or identified, the court has issued an injunction which prevents any news organisation from contacting 65 different witnesses connected with the case or from communicating with M or with any of the 65 people listed, "whether orally in person, or by telephoning, text message, email or other means."

She adds: "It is the most draconian injunction so far issued by any court.

"It now means that the understandable secrecy which is attached to court proceedings regarding vulnerable people who are in no position to give informed consent to publicity – has been extended to 65 members of the public, and journalists risk imprisonment if they breach the injunction.

"It is a quite breathtaking extension of their remit."

  • The Telegraph has a full report on the injunction. It says, under its terms, reporters also risk being fined or jailed if they come within 164ft (50 metres) of any one of four properties listed in the injunction. It adds: "Legal experts said they had never seen the press restricted in such a way, in powers usually used to protect vulnerable women from ex-partners or keep animal rights protesters away from scientists."

  • The Sun says today that a married actor has obtained an injunction to stop the paper naming him in a story about his alleged fling with a co-star. According to the Sun, the actor told the court that naming him would harm his teenage children. It is the latest in a string of privacy injunctions granted to actors, celebrities and sports stars to stop the tabloid press writing about their private life.

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