Journalists could scupper London terror trials

Journalists could jeopardise future terror trials with their reporting of London bombing-related arrests.
 
That is the verdict of civil liberties campaign
group Liberty which urged the Attorney General to remind the media of
the contempt of court laws.
 
The group is particularly concerned about reports regarding
Osman Hussain – the terror suspect arrested in Italy and questioned in connection with the failed London bombings of July 21.
 
In a letter to the Attorney General, Liberty
claims not all newspapers and broadcasters have taken care to describe
the suspects as “alleged” bombers and warned against the over use of
pictures and background material on the suspects.
 
It has urged the Attorney General to issue an informal warning “to establish self-restraint by the print and broadcast media”.
 
Liberty added: “We hope that we can all agree
that public safety is best ensured by those accused of the gravest
crimes receiving fair and effective justice without delay.”
 
Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti said: “Liberty
has always been of the view that both justice and security are best
served by the bringing of terror suspects to trial.”
 
But she added: “However, now that suspects are
being detained it seems to us that the fair criminal trials which
should ensue may be prejudiced by both the nature and the volume media
comment on and scrutiny of the suspects.”
 
Regarding Osman Hussain she said: “Over the last few days a number of
the suspect’s admisisons have appeared in our media as a result of
leaks from the Italian authorities and/or statements by an Italian
court appointed lawyer.
 
“It is our understanding that (also from media reports) that the
man the man in question argues that he will not reieve a fair trial in
England. It seems to us that such claims will only grow in foundation
if any admissions by this or other suspects made in Italy or the United
Kingdom are to be the subject of wide media reporting and commentary in
the weeks and months ahead.”
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