Despite open justice, empty press benches in court mean “justice operates essentially unseen and unheard by the public”, a senior barrister has warned in an article. He says this gives rise to false myths about how court cases operate. Reporters often piece together reports based on “fragments” of a case, writes Andrew Langdon QC, chairman of the Bar Council. Read more.
A judge refused to allow more than three reporters into a youth court hearing to avoid overwhelming a defendant accused of attacking a police officer. She later relented after key evidence had been heard. PA Legal Editor Mike Dodd said court rules did not limit the number of reporters who could attend youth courts – which are closed to the public. He said the judged place the defendant’s welfare above the principle of open justice.
Reporters have been allowed into previously-closed hearings in the Court of Protection but they fail to explain its workings to the public, a barrister has complained. Read more
An MP called for anonymity for men accused of rape after charges against him were dropped; but media law writer David Banks said in The Independent that it would be against open justice, and that publicity can bring out further victims and evidence.
The Guardian was criticised by readers for leading a successful application to be able to name the schoolboy who killed teacher Ann Maguire. His family would face vilification as a result, they said. Read more
A rape victim identified her attacker when his picture was published in a local paper 27 years later. The editor said it showed the importance of being able to publicise sex crimes (HoldTheFrontPage, September 2014). Read more
Journalists might have their access to court papers limited in advance of hearings because of “irresponsible” reporting, a judge warned. Note: Scotland has distinct laws (HoldTheFrontPage, August 2014). Read more