Evening News vindicated

By Sarah Lagan

Scotsman Publications, publisher of the Evening News in Edinburgh,
has been cleared of breaching the Criminal Procedures (Scotland) Act
after last April naming 15-year-old Luke Mitchell, who was later
convicted of killing schoolgirl Jodi Jones.

Aberdeen Journals, publisher of the Press & Journal, was cleared
of the same charge in July. It had been cleared in February, but the
Crown appealed.

Lindsey Miller, principal depute of the Crown,
said: “Given the view taken by the appeal court, there is no basis for
continuing with this prosecution.”

The publishers were charged under the Act, which says “no newspaper report of any proceedings in a court”

should
identify anyone aged under 16.In the Press & Journal case, Aberdeen
Sheriff Paul Cullen QC argued the report did not cover proceedings in
the court. But the Crown tried to argue proceedings were not restricted
to the courtroom. Cullen insisted the wording in the act was
“unambiguous”.

The appeal judges’ ruling stated: “What is
reported in the article was undoubtedly brought about in response to
earlier proceedings in a court; but that does not mean, in our opinion,
that the arrest and charge by the police were themselves such
proceedings.”

Ian Stewart, who was editor of the Evening News at
the time of the case, said: “The Crown has dragged its feet over this.
It’s important that editors stick to their guns in these situations. I
knew what we did was not against the law and it’s a relief to have been
vindicated.”

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