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HUMANITIES SCIENCE POLITICS

Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598x, 25th November, 2016. 18.00 GMT

FROM BRITISH COURTS | 23

Column Donkey Riding: When journalists are silent

During the past 18 months of reporting from Bradford Law Courts
I have had to write to trial judges to clarify whether there might be
Court Orders I don't know about, but may know about, and which a
judge has made at some stage over and above the Statutory provisions
governing a journalist's work. Below is an example of one such note I
asked the clerk to pass to the judge. It is obvious from the words I am
a journalist, editor and publisher, not a lawyer.

"Your honour,

I am the editor and publisher of Science, People & Politics, a quarterly
humanity's title. Some of what we publish has appeared previously
online as contemporaneous news report. Have any orders by judges in
Bradford or elsewhere, of which I may know, been issued to your
knowledge, which would prohibit publication in line with lawful contem-
poraneous news reporting under the spirit of all likely lawfully
applicable Statutes prior to the jury returning its verdict in [insert case
as appropriate]."

This letter has elicited responses ranging from, "not that we know of,"
to a Court Order prohibiting publication prior to a further Court Order
reversing the first Court Order, with the additional paragraph that one
may not say such an Order exists in the context of a particular trial.

I have seen other such orders in the press room at Bradford, Crown
Court relating to trials I was not personally following in detail. I imagine
they are handed down daily in Crown Courts around England every day the Courts are sitting.

Since judges manage trials, I imagine their intent with these orders is
to ensure fair trial, and to drive home the message one is innocent
until proven guilty. A difficulty is that such orders can make proper
coverage of a trial expensive, and separate important issues from the
time when they happen. I have to assume the judge has taken that
into account prior to issuing such an order. Helen Gavaghan

Dates on the following reports are those of contemporaneously reported news. They
are in this quarterly because important to scientists and politicians internationally.

Issue 4 (October - December), 2016. Volume VII. Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598x.

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CONTENTS

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Published Friday 25th November, 2016.

The word importance in the pdf is corrected in this html edition to important.

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A print version would additionally have two blank pages, so this version is not routinely for sale as print, unless really wanted.

HTML/CSS by Helen Gavaghan©