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* Implications of Attorney General's Advice re; Inquests *

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PhilScraton:
Today's statement, following on from the February statement, effectively ends any media discussion, including social media, of issues that might effect the course of the inquests (including recent debates here on crowd safety, crowd management, policing etc.). The main reason for this is because of the potential impact on the inquest jury. This does not apply from the moment the inquests begin, as has been interpreted previously, but from now. As stated below, the proceedings are 'currently active'. It also means that as evidence is heard there should be no comments, other than factual reporting, on the perceived status or veracity of that evidence. Already this decision has had consequences for programmes and publications, including my own, in the lead-in to the 25th Anniversary.

10 March 2014
 
HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS

 

The inquests into the deaths of the 96 people who died as a result of the events at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989 are due to begin on 31 March 2014. 

The inquests will be heard by a Coroner (Lord Justice Goldring) together with a jury. 

Editors, publishers and social media users should note that the inquest proceedings are currently active for the purpose of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. 

The Attorney General wishes to draw attention to the risk of publishing material, including online, which could create a substantial risk that the course of justice in the inquests may be seriously impeded or prejudiced, particularly as this inquest involves a jury.

This risk could arise by commentary which may prejudge issues that witnesses may give evidence about, or matters that the jury will need to consider in reaching their verdict.  The inquests could also be prejudiced by publishing details of material (whatever its source) which may not form part of the evidence at the inquest. 

The Attorney Generalís Office will be monitoring the coverage of these proceedings.

Editors, publishers and social media users should take legal advice to ensure they are in a position to fully comply with the obligations they are subject to under the Contempt of Court Act.  They are also reminded of the advisory note issued by Lord Justice Goldring on 11 February 2014.

For media enquiries please contact: The Attorney Generalís Press Office on 020 7271 2448 or

pressoffice@attorneygeneral.gsi.gov.uk

 

 


 
 Bernadette Caffarey

Attorney General's Office| Treasury Solicitorís Department |

E: bernie.caffarey@attorneygeneral.gsi.gov.uk  T: 020 7271 2440 M: 07867 520 314 

20 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NF Out of hours pager: 07623 946316  Twitter: @ago_uk

 
 

Alan_X:

--- Quote from: PhilScraton on March 10, 2014, 05:32:41 PM ---Today's statement, following on from the February statement, effectively ends any media discussion, including social media, of issues that might effect the course of the inquests (including recent debates here on crowd safety, crowd management, policing etc.).
--- End quote ---

Is that just in relation to Hillsborough Phil? Or wider and current discussion of the issues.

That Kennedy moment:
I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean there, Al...

Just to add to what Phil has said: I am hearing of senior journalists, radio and print, and film-makers who are pulling stuff left, right and centre - material that they would not normally be afraid to run. But they're seriously edgy now.

It's not just the wording of the AG's statement, yesterday: read between the lines. He will come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who dares to prejudge the outcome or influence the jury. This is also a pointer - that the other side will use anything and everything they can to bolster their case, and perhaps to claim 'unfair proceedings'.

There is something in the AG's statement too that should make everyone think before they post on Rawk now:

The inquests could also be prejudiced by publishing details of material (whatever its source) which may not form part of the evidence at the inquest. 

Read that, read it again, and read it again...




DrAndrewWatt:
Apparently the Attorney General will be on Radio 4 today at 16.00 and the discussion will include contempt of court.

See
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03xf0gf

I'm not sure how directly relevant the discussion will be to the Hillsborough Inquests.

That Kennedy moment:
Very relevant, I should imagine - the media are in a fit about this.

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