PA reporter challenges Trisha assault case reporting ban

A defence lawyer failed in a bid to persuade magistrates to ban the media from reporting the case of a man accused of having assaulted his alleged love rival behind the scenes at a recording of Channel Five’s Trisha show after a protest by a journalist.

Press Association reporter Tim Walsh objected when the secrecy bid was made during a hearing at Skegness Magistrates’ Court in a case against Ian Wallace, formerly of Spilsby, Lincolnshire.

Wallace faces a charge of common assault by beating in relation to an incident at Maidstone Studios, Kent, on February 12 during recording of a Trisha Goddard chat show in which he appeared with his sometime girlfriend and a love rival.

The incident allegedly happened off-camera during an episode of the show, which has already been broadcast.

The weekday show encourages guests to discuss and try to resolve their conflicts and issues with loved ones.

Ruth Harrop, defending Wallace – who was not in court – told the chairman of the Bench, David Simcox: “”I am asking for there to be no reporting of the details of this case.

“If you did not agree with me on that, I would ask that there was no publication of address or or the next court date.”

Wallace, she said, had received a number of threats after the alleged incident received widespread coverage in the media, and had left Spilsby as he feared for his safety.

“My client instructs me that these threats have continued,” she said.

“He has a genuine fear because this is a case that has attracted huge attention because of where the alleged assault took place,” she said, adding that the case had become a “trial by media”.

Walsh objected to the application, pointing out that secrecy orders could not be made if the information had not first been withheld from the public, and highlighting the principle ofopen justice and the media’s right to report proceedings.

Banning reports of proceedings because of a defendant’s fear of repercussions would mean that no trials would ever be reported, he said, adding that the defence had failed to produce any genuine evidence of a risk to Wallace.

Simcox declined to make the requested order under section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act, saying that such orders were to be made only in rare circumstances and adding: “We don’t feel this is a case under that category.”

The court also issued a warrant for Wallace’s arrest as he had failed to answer bail.

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