Reading reporter sways judge with 'brilliant argument'

Reading Evening Post chief reporter Jason Collie has won a court battle to allow the paper to print a murder victim’s photograph.

Collie’s success came despite the judge in the case telling him he would need "a barrister with the most brilliant argument".

He was covering a retrial into the murder of a woman by her former boyfriend nine years ago and found a picture of her in the newspaper’s archives.

However, she was holding the couple’s baby, whose identity had been suppressed by Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC and his first bid to use the picture was turned down.

The judge also said the Evening Post must not "doctor" the baby out of the picture and told Collie that unless he received a written undertaking that the photograph would never be published, he would ask the Official Solicitor to get involved.

Collie told Press Gazette: "He made it clear he didn’t want the picture published and said if we wanted to take it further we would have to have a barrister and one with the most ‘brilliant argument’ to win.

"But it was our only picture of the victim in a gruesome killing and I knew I could win without a barrister. Our photographic department erased the baby from the picture and I put in a fresh written application with the two versions, asking the judge to give us leave because of the way we had dealt with it so far."

Judge Rivlin agreed the compromise, praising the Post’s "very good letter" and how "highly responsible" it had been.

"It shows there is an increasing willingness from judges to hear reporters in court," Collie said "and to work with the media for a common ground."

By Jean Morgan

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