Honeymoon killing extradition judge allows tweets

A lawyer representing the man suspected of killing his new wife while on Honeymoon has tried to stop reporters using Twitter in court, saying it could “undermine the solemnity” of proceedings.

Julian Knowles QC made the submission at an extradition hearing for Shrien Dewani, the British businessman accused of ordering the murder of his wife while on honeymoon in South Africa.

But District Judge Howard Riddle, sitting at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week, rejected his arguments and allowed tweeting, provided that it was accurate and unobtrusive.

At the start of the hearing, District Judge Riddle said the media had asked for permission to tweet.

Knowles, representing Dewani, said: “I know the media get very excited about Facebook and Twitter but there have been all sorts of leaks (in this case) and I think the time has come to put a stop to it.”

He said Twitter was feeding the leaks and “it does undermine the solemnity” of the proceedings.

The judge said he did not believe this was the case, adding: “On the face of it, it can increase accuracy.”

Knowles replied: “In 140 characters?”

But District Judge Riddle continued: “In accordance with the Lord Chief Justice’s direction I propose to admit it, providing it is unobtrusive, doesn’t interrupt proceedings and is accurate.”

Last month, Lord Judge, the country’s top judge, said Twitter could be used in court if users first sought permission.

He said decisions over the use of the micro-blogging website would be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the risk of interference to the “proper administration of justice”.

Also last week MPs were given the green light to continue using Twitter in the Commons

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