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.
A reporter’s battle to see the diary of former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley went all the way to the Court of Appeal – which ordered the government to reveal nearly all of it. It covered the period when the minister was working on a major shake-up of the NHS. The case highlights several reasons why Freedom of Information is considered important to journalism and the public interest. Read more
The Sun escaped censure for a story on a police officer who advertised threesomes with his girlfriend while on paid sick leave. The officer claimed a reporter’s secret film breached his privacy but the Independent Press Standards Organisation agreed the story was justified. Read more in UK Press Gazette.
The Sunday Times successfully used the defence of responsible journalism on a matter of public interest to fend off a libel claim by former MP Tim Yeo, who had been the subject of a sting. The politician must pay more than £400,000 in costs. Read more