Media Law: 9 Reporting restrictions in criminal cases Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Media Law: 9 Reporting restrictions in criminal cases Deck (43):

main types of criminal proceedings where reporting is restricted

- hearing taking place before trial
- cases involving rape / sexual offences
- pleas in mitigation


what can be reported from preliminary hearings in magistrates?

- names of court and magistrates
- names/addresses/occupations of parties and witnesses; ages of defendants and witnesses
- offences (ask clerk for more details, e.g. when, where, victim)
- names of barristers/solicitors
- adjournment date + new court
- whether case transferred to Crown Court
- bail
- legal aid
- whether any reporting restrictions were lifted


effectively what can't be reported from preliminary hearings?

- anything either side alleges


lifting restrictions

- only if defendant applies for it, and only if in interests of justice
- if two defendants disagree then courts decide


when do restrictions on preliminary hearings end?

- magistrates dismiss case
- all defendants have been tried in Crown Court
- magistrates decide on summary trial


can restrictions be re-implemented?



who is liable under s8(1) of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980?

- publisher
- proprietor
- editor


what can/can't you report about bail applications?

- whether it was granted
- what the conditions were
- NOT what the arguments raised were


what can be reported from pre-trial hearings in Crown Court?

- unless court has heard from ALL the accused and reckons it's in the interests of justice to allow reporting


what can be reported about preparatory hearings (used to make life easier for jury)?

- name of court / judge
- names/age/address/occupation of accused and witnesses
- offence(s)
- names of lawyers
- if adjourned: date and location
- bail
- legal aid


what can be reported from applications to dismiss?

- name of court / judge
- names/age/address/occupation of accused and witnesses
- offence(s)
- names of lawyers
- if adjourned: date and location
- bail
- legal aid


what can be reported from preparatory hearings of serious fraud cases?

- name of court / judge
- names/age/address/occupation of accused and witnesses
- offence(s)
- names of lawyers
- if adjourned: date and location
- bail
- legal aid


which types of case can skip the normal committal procedures?

- serious fraud cases
- sexual offences involving children


conditions for sex offence case involving children skipping committal procedures

- offence is of nature making it suitable for Crown Court
- child is either victim or witness giving evidence
- delay might affect welfare of child


sexual offences reporting principle

- media can't name victims for lifetime (encourages to come forward)


legislation outlining sexual offences reporting

- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999


what might lead to ID of sex offence victim?

- name
- address
- school / other educational institution
- place of work
- still / moving pictures
- other obvious info (e.g. "a man raped his niece")


DEF: piecing together descriptions to arrive at ID

- 'jigsaw identification'


offences covered by sexual offence restrictions

- rape
- attempted rape
- aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring rape
- incitement to rape
- conspiracy to rape
- burglary with intent to rape
- indecent assault
- offences involving indecency or sexual activity with children
- indecent exposure
- internet 'grooming'
- trafficking for sexual exploitation
- voyeurism


CASES where papers broke sexual offence restrictions

- naming 'family member not related' (i.e. step-daughter)
- unwittingly named trafficked women in brothel story
- girl named in reports for running away with 31-year-old bf, on return he was charged with sex offence, Marie Claire reported with name


sex offence restriction have widest possible scope

- even if claim withdrawn
- CIVIL (as well as criminal): e.g. sex discrimination case may include indecent assault
- any kind of story (NOT just reporting court cases)


when might judge lift sex offence restrictions?

- victim applies for it (to bring forward witnesses, etc.)
- when considered 'unreasonable restraint' on reporting, seen in public interest (usually when other serious offences involved)


publishing conditions if victim lifts restrictions

- must be over 15
- must give written consent to any publication
- decision must be made freely


instance in which rape cases can be identified

- later cases not to do with the rape (e.g. perjury for lying about rape)


PCC regs on sexual offences

- press must NOT identify victims of sexual assault
- must NOT identify children under 16 victims of sexual assault (even if legally free to do so)
- adult may be identified
- word 'incest' must not be used if it might identify
- nothing in the report must suggest relationship


Ofcom guidelines

- describes what is basically jigsaw identification


restrictions reporting pleas in mitigation

- if allegations are derogatory to someone's character
- if those allegations are untrue or irrelevant to case
- court can order restrictions to stay in place for a year after trial


statutes protecting vulnerable witnesses

- Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999
- Coroners and Justice Act 2009
- Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005


YJCEA: restrictions identifying witnesses (adults only) based on whether they would improve...

- quality of evidence
- level of cooperation


how do you determine quality of witness?

- nature/circumstances of alleged offence
- witness's age and background
- behaviour towards witness by defendant
- witness's own views on the matter


DEF: order banning publication of any material relating to witness

- s46 order (YJCEA)


DEF: order protecting witnesses under 18

- s39 order (Children and Young Persons Act 1933)


DEF: public removed from court while young/vulnerable witness gives evidence

- 'special measure direction' (YJCEA)


who's eligible for 'special measures direction'

- anyone under 18
- anyone whose evidence will be diminished due to disability/disorder
- alleged victims in sex case
- anyone whose evidence will be diminished due to fear and stress


what's new in Coroners and Justice Act 2009?

- s76 allows magistrates court to make 'investigation anonymity order'
- applies to murder/manslaughter by shooting or stabbing
- on request from police
- designed for cases involving gangs


conditions for s76 order

- suspect aged between 11 and 30
- member of group identified by involvement in criminal activity (i.e. a gang)
- person covered by order has realistic fear of harm
- person covered by order likely to have info useful to investigation


limits to prosecutions for breaking s76

- if you had no idea it existed
- if you had no idea the info would ID the person


what else is new in CJA 2009?

- s86: witness anonymity order


what does a s86 order involve?

- withholding name / ID-ing details
- using pseudonym
- evidence behind screen
- disguising voice
- banning questions which might ID them


when can s86 orders be used?

- belief there is threat to witness/property
- consistent with defendant getting fair trial
- witness won't testify without one and their evidence is crucial to public interest


additional PCC guidelines when reporting crime

- relatives of defendants should not be named unless relevant
- special regard for kiddies (though this shouldn't restrict right to report legal proceedings)


additional Ofcom guidelines when reporting crime

- no images of people involved in emergencies (even in public place) where there might be issues of privacy
- UNLESS warranted or they've given consent


possible restrictions during appeals on new evidence

- Court of Appeal has right to restrict reporting on any material
- exceptional, must potentially prejudice the case
- media should be given 14 days notice