The Supreme Court has refused permission for Mirror Group Newspapers to appeal against its contempt of court conviction over last year’s Chris Jefferies coverage.
Permission to appeal was refused because the application ‘does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance’and ‘because this was a very clear case of contempt of court”, the Supreme Court said this morning.
The Divisional Court found on 29 July 2011 that articles published by the Daily Mirror constituted a contempt of court and MGN was fined £50,000, while The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers was fined £18,000.
The Sun withdrew its Supreme Court appeal in January.
After the disappearance of Bristol architect Joanna Yeates in December 2010 the Daily Mirror carried a front page with the headline “Jo Suspect is Peeping Tom” beneath a photograph of Jefferies, and another front-page headline read “Was Killer Waiting In Jo’s Flat?”, with sub-headings below reading “Police seize bedding for tests” and “Landlord held until Tuesday”.
On the same day they were hit with contempt of court fines both the Mirror and Sun paid out ‘very substantial” libel damages to Jefferies along with six other national newspapers in an out of court settlement.
The Divisional Court found the Mirror and Sun coverage “impeded” the course of justice because the articles had the effect of “vilifying” Jefferies and would deter witnesses from coming forward to give evidence, which was capable of constituting contempt of court.
Jefferies said he would never recover from the ‘reckless’coverage in the press when he appeared in front of the Leveson Inquiry in November.
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