The court quashed a finding of contempt in relation to the livestreaming on Facebook of a video referring to details of defendants during a trial which was subject to a postponement order prohibiting the reporting of the proceedings until the conclusion of the trial. The judge had dealt with the contempt too quickly, there was no clarity about the particulars of the alleged contempt as required by the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 Pt 48 and there was limited opportunity to investigate mitigation. The matter was remitted for rehearing.
RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL
The inclusion in an enhanced criminal record certificate of details of an individual’s acquittal on a charge of rape was a proportionate interference with that individual’s rights under ECHR art.8. In so deciding, the Supreme Court clarified when an appellate court could make a fresh determination as to proportionality, noted the lack of guidance to potential employers on how to treat ECRCs containing details of acquittals, and indicated that careful thought should be given to the value of disclosing allegations that had been tested in court and resulted in acquittal.
A prison governor’s decision that a prisoner serving a mandatory life sentence should attend a court hearing by video link rather than in person did not breach ECHR art.6, and the prison had not fettered its discretion.
The Court of Appeal considered the use of reporting restrictions in a criminal trial in the context of an appeal by the BBC against a postponement order imposed pursuant to the Contempt of Court Act 1981 s.4(2).
The court had jurisdiction to make a declaration on a closed material application under the Justice and Security Act 2013 s.6 in judicial review proceedings challenging a decision not to prosecute. Although the case was not an appeal “in” criminal proceedings, since its outcome would not decide criminal liability, the words “criminal cause or matter” in s.6(11) were to be interpreted broadly.