Reporter in witness box seven months after the event

A journalist found himself in the witness box seven months after interviewing the victim of a horrific samurai sword attack.

York
Evening Press reporter Chris Greenwood, 28, was given just 12 hours’
notice that he was required to give evidence at the trial of two men
arrested following the attack.

Greenwood was asked to testify
because he had managed to interview the victim several days before
detectives talked to him. Lawyers wanted to know why some details of
the Evening Press interview differed from the victim’s later evidence
to police.

In a letter to the court, the Evening Press initially
resisted the court order, arguing that handing over shorthand notes
could jeopardise the reporter’s credibility and his ability to protect
sources and contacts.

Editor Kevin Booth said: “We objected to
this particular order because the confidentiality of a reporter’s notes
is not something that should be sacrificed lightly.

“The judge
decided to proceed ‘in the public interest’. No sources were to be
compromised, so we reluctantly acceded to the order.

“However, we
remain concerned to preserve the principle of confidentiality, and we
reserve our right strenuously to resist any order requiring journalists
to reveal their sources.”

Greenwood, 28, joined the Evening Press as a trainee in January 2001 and has recently been promoted to assistant news editor.

He
described his court appearance as “extremely nerve-wracking” but added:
“All those hours of shorthand practice have paid off”.

He said: “This was an early morning interview that I turned around in less than 15 minutes for our first edition.

“I
had no idea that seven months later I would be digging my notepad back
out and giving evidence to a jury about exactly what was said between
us.

I’ve certainly seen the courtroom from a different
perspective now. It’s a great reminder that your notes need to be clear
and easy to find.”

John O’Callaghan, 39, and Stephen Hammond, 49,
of Hertfordshire, were jailed for eight and seven years respectively
after a jury found them guilty of the attack.

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 + 19 =

CLOSE
CLOSE