Agency reporter's court victory

A Crown Court reporter has fought and overturned a Section 4 order on a high-profile case, even though both the defence and prosecution counsels supported the reporting ban.

The Contempt of Court order was made to ban all reporting on the case of a nurse who denied stealing drugs from a hospital.

The judge agreed with the defence team’s application that any more stories written about nurse Evelyn Brace would prejudice her trial.

However, Sarah Lawrence, a senior reporter from INS News Group, challenged the order on the basis that it was already the responsibility of the press not to report anything prejudicial to proceedings.

Lawrence said: "Just because a case has had a high profile in the press before any charges have been brought does not mean a jury will be substantially prejudiced at any future trial.

"Justice should be seen to be done in the open and without secrecy."

Lawrence’s challenge at Reading Crown Court, which involved her taking the witness stand for 30 minutes during the plea and directions hearing, was made tougher by the prosecution team offering no objection to the order.

Judge Lait lifted the Section 4 order and did not impose any restrictions on the case other than acknowledging that there were restrictions already in place on what could be reported before a trial.



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