Court will give out criminals' addresses, 'but reporters will have to check they're right'

Nottingham Crown Court has retracted its decision not to supply the addresses of convicted criminals to journalists after a backlash from the media.

Earlier this month, Press Gazette reported how the court’s decision not to release the address of a woman convicted of actual bodily harm almost led to Burton Mail chief reporter David Powles libelling another woman with the same name.

Powles said it could all have been avoided if the court had supplied the address. The court, however, said it couldn’t supply addresses because they couldn’t guarantee they were right.

At the time, Nottingham Evening Post editor Graham Glen (pictured) told Press Gazette his “patience was running out” with the court, and Society of Editors director Bob Satchwell said it was a “vital principle of our system that justice must be seen to be done and that justice must be open”.

The Court Service admitted that journalists raising the issue was “part of the reason” the decision was taken to overturn the restriction.

A spokesman said: “It was part of the reason, but I have been looking at giving guidance to the court to give a caveat, it’s been an ongoing thing.

“The court will give a caveat saying they are unable to confirm the current address. It is obvious that it would be the responsibility of the journalist to check it.”

Powles said: “It’s good that they have seen sense and bowed down to pressure.

Unfortunately our case has ended and we had to run it without the address, so it’s too late for us, but I’m sure it will help us and others in the future.”

Nottingham Evening Post deputy editor Martin Done said: “This is a victory for common sense. It was clearly untenable for Nottingham Crown Court to continue to refuse to release the addresses of convicted criminals to reporters.”

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