Tuesday 17 November 2009

Do contempt reporting restrictions still exist?

In the wake of the coverage of the 'Night Stalker' suspect arrest, Press Gazette's Grey Cardigan is asking: "So when did we abandon reporting restrictions?"
Grey writes: "I know that the red-tops play fancy-free with Contempt of Court, but The Sun’s coverage today of the Delroy Grant case doesn’t so much as drive a coach and horses through the 1981 Act but makes a complete fucking mockery of it.
"Am I just out of touch? Do the reporting restrictions that were hammered into us by news editors past matter any more?"
The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer was tackled about the Night Stalker coverage when he was a speaker at the Society of Editors annual conference on Monday. He was asked if in the age of the internet, when reporting restrictions are routinely ignored on the web, the contempt of court laws were now "no longer fit for purpose?".
Starmer said he "would not go that far" and pointed out juries could be directed by a judge to ignore the way a case had been reported before it came to a trial.

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