Defendant in secret murder trial loses bid to let in press

A financial trader accused of murdering a reclusive millionaire author has failed in an attempt to overturn an order that part of his trial will be heard in private.

Trial judge Mr Justice Ouseley made an order on January 15 excluding the press and public from part of Old Bailey proceedings in the case of Wang Yam, who is charged with the murder of Allan Chappelow and offences of dishonesty.

The judge said the prosecution had made a “compelling” case for part of the trial to be held in camera.

The Crown’s application, on the grounds of the administration of justice and national security, was opposed by the defence and by news organisations.

Yesterday, at the Court of Appeal in London, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, sitting with Mr Justice Silber and Mr Justice Underhill, rejected an application by Yam for permission to appeal against Mr Justice Ouseley’s order.

Lord Phillips said the court had concluded “that the judge correctly applied the relevant law to the facts before him and that his decision was correct”.

Yam, 46, of Denning Road, Hampstead, north London, whose trial is expected to start this week, pleads not guilty to murdering Chappelow between May 4 and June 14, 2006.

He also denies stealing £20 belonging to the 86-year-old and obtaining a money transfer of £20,000 by pretending to be the writer.

Yam further denies burglary at Mr Chappelow’s home in Downshire Hill, Hampstead, when four cheques, mail and a mobile phone were taken, and theft and handling charges.

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Chappelow died from head injuries.

Chappelow’s books included works on the playwright George Bernard Shaw entitled Shaw The Chucker-Out: A Biographical Exposition And Critique, and Shaw The Villager And Human Being.

He also wrote Russian Holiday, which was published in 1955.

The order made by Mr Justice Ouseley bans the publication of or any reference to anything heard in camera.

The judge has also warned journalists that speculation about the case could amount to contempt.

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