273 contempt of court -2012

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273 contempt of court -2012

  1. 1. MAC 273…Professional Media PracticesContempt of court
  2. 2. Criminal Courts Major Crown Offence Court Magistrates Court Minor Verdict Offence
  3. 3. The Open Court Rule Lord Hewart 1924: “Justice must not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” But there are restrictions…..
  4. 4. ...but there are restrictions on themedia Courts can sit ‘in camera’ if in the interests of justice or national security. Reporting mustn’t disrupt natural course of justice:  not prejudicing juries or victims (present & future)  protecting juveniles under 18 (criminal cases and applications for custody, guardianship or wardship)  Protecting confidential information and information received ‘in confidence’
  5. 5. Where Contempt Applies Reporting active court cases or legal proceedings Discussing current cases or alleged criminals Programmes or news about cases, the police or courts Matters concerning the judiciary Court cases, tribunals, juveniles, victims of sexual offences
  6. 6. Contempt of Court something which  creates a serious risk of substantial prejudice or impediment to particular proceedings, or  when proceedings are active or that...  interferes with justice  breaches a court undertaking/order/injunction  seeks to discover private jury discussions or payment for witness stories
  7. 7. In short the law exists because… Its based on the idea that we can create the conditions for a fair trial by denying the public certain facts. And it holds back those facts from all 60 million of us in this country because 12 of us will be jurors. BBC College of Journalism
  8. 8. Proceedings are active when… Someone is arrested  Remember… A warrant is issued for  Police statements are arrest covered by privilege but you need to check if the A summons has been circumstances have issued changed and Someone is orally proceedings become charged “active”
  9. 9. Contempt of Court Act 1981 Action usually taken by Attorney General Types:  Strict Liability – reporting where case is active  Scandalous attacks – on the judiciary  Conduct other than publication  Breach of an order
  10. 10. Relevant Sections of the Act Section3:  A defence of not knowing proceedings were active  If reasonable care has been taken Section 4:  Delaying orders of open court reports Section 5:  Discussion of public affairs during active proceedings Section 11:  Banning orders on naming victims or offenders
  11. 11. What could be contempt? Obtaining or publishing details of jury deliberations Reporting of court proceedings in defiance of a court order or reporting restrictions, particularly committal proceedings Anticipating the course of a trial or predicting the outcome Publishing details of a Defendants lifestyle Making payments to witnesses Filming inside court buildings Revealing the identity of victims of sex offences without written consent which can only be given if over 18 years of age. Reporting proceedings concerning ward ship, adoption, other children related hearings. Mental Health Act applications and national security. Reporting criminal proceedings and identifying a child as Defendant, witness or victim. Breaching an injunction obtained against another party. accessed via 4docs
  12. 12. The police can ask for help The press has nothing to whatsoever to fear from publishing is reasoned terms anything which may assist in the apprehension of a wanted man and I hope that it will continue to perform this public service The Attorney General (1981) BUT THIS ONLY APPLIES UP TO THE POINT THAT A PERSON IS FOUND AND ARRESTED
  13. 13. Implications for broadcasters Rock FM, Preston 1999  Broadcasting “The Harold Shipman trial .... we have got to be information the jury delicate because it is on-going ... I am supposed to be delicate, but I really don’t care ... Harold Shipman’s wouldn’t hear during a trial is going into its umpteen month (at which point the traffic announcer was heard saying in the trial background “guilty”) ... innocent until proven guilty of course because that’s the way it works in this land. It’s innocent until proven guilty as sin ... put us tax payers  Running old news out of our misery because we are paying for this - admit to it - it’s a fair cop - you’re caught red- stories, when arrests handed, be done with it. The Judge said it was…. have been made “about as irresponsible a piece of broadcasting as I have ever heard... By saying the words ‘I have to be delicate’ you made it perfectly clear that you knew you Beacon FM, Shropshire, 2003 shouldn’t mention any kind of words like that”.
  14. 14. Ipswich Murders "Depending on the circumstances and information, this could include speculation or information relating to suspects connections or other activities, or details of their background. In particular, the attorney general urges all parties to take note of the risks in publishing material that asserts or assumes, expressly or implicitly, the guilt of any individual." Note from Lord Goldsmith to the media, 2006
  15. 15. Risks Wasted Courts order  Courts Act 2003 powers to judges and magistrates Differences under Scottish Law  Where identification is an issue Fine  Against individual  Against the broadcaster/producer/editor/etc
  16. 16. Defences Innocent publication (Section 3) Fair, accurate and contemporary reporting where restrictions are not in place (Section 4) “A publication made as or as part of a discussion in good faith of public affairs or other matters of general public interest is not to be treated as contempt of court under the strict liability rule of the risk of impediment is merely incidental to the discussion” Section 5 of the Contempt of Court Act
  17. 17. MAGISTRATES COURTS ACT 1980 identity of court, names of magistrate names, addresses & occupations of parties & witnesses.. and ages of accused & witnesses offence or offences or a summary of them names of counsel or solicitors any decision of the court to commit the accused for trial or not to commit and to which crown court whether bail was granted and conditions (if any) if hearing was adjourned,
  18. 18. Restrictions always apply to… Rape Cases  Sexual Offences (Amendment Act 1976) introduced anonymity (for life) victims in rape cases and most sexual offences  But… Criminal Justice Act 1988 section 158: says you can identify anyone CHARGED with RAPE Juveniles (Under 18’s)  Youth courts closed to public reporting is automatically restricted and any case involving the under 18’s
  19. 19. Injunctions… Injunction (n): “A remedy whereby the court orders a defendant to do, or refrain from doing, a certain thing. Super injunction (n): an injunction which prohibits the reporting of its own existence. Given to prevent a breach of confidence Breaching an injunction is a Contempt of Court
  20. 20.  It is against the law for us to tell you who killedBaby P Baby P, although we know, and even though they have now been convicted of the crime in the British courts. One of them is his own mother, a 27-year-old from north London, but we cannot Children and Young legally identify her any further. Another is his mothers boyfriend, a 32-year-old who lived with Persons Act 1989 her in their publicly provided house in the Haringey Council area, but we cannot identify Contempt of Court Act him any further, either. The third, like the others convicted of causing or allowing the death of a  Section 4 (2) child, is another man, age 36. He at least can legally be identified as Jason Owen, but we cannot disclose why he lived in the house or what exactly his relationship was to the other people in the house, or even whether Jason Owen is his real or only name, although we know. We cannot even disclose Baby Ps real name, even his first name, although we know that too.  Newsweek – 20/11/2008
  21. 21. When the judge lifts restrictionsas a deterrent © BBC News
  22. 22. Raoul Moat

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