Reporter beats gagging order bid

A Birmingham Evening Mail reporter successfully challenged a bid for anonymity by a man who crashed his van into a bus stop, killing a 16-yearold girl and seriously injuring two other people.

Solicitors acting for David Laverty, who is accused of causing death by careless driving, applied for a gagging order under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act.

They argued that publication of his name and address would hamper a fair trial due to the highly emotive nature of the case. They also claimed Laverty would be a target for reprisals as he lives in the same neighbourhood as the victim.

But reporter Neil Elkes told magistrates that fear of reprisals were not grounds for a section 11 order.

He argued that existing reporting restrictions under the Magistrates’ Court Act are enough to ensure a fair trial and justice would not be hampered by the publication of Laverty’s name and address.

Elkes said afterwards: “The defence solicitor really did not have a leg to stand on and, following consultation with the court clerk, the magistrates refused the request.”

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