Reporter takes the stand to halt lawyer's bid for section 4 order

Victorious: freelance David Miller 

A freelance journalist working for the Dewsbury & District Press took centre stage at Leeds Crown Court to successfully overturn a section 4 order.

David Miller was covering a case in which 11 Iraqi-Kurds are accused of an attack which left two rugby players with stab wounds and another in a coma with severe brain damage.

According to Miller, while he was asking the court clerk for details of the case, he was overheard by a member of the defence team who then asked for a section 4 order to be imposed on the case and for Miller to leave the court.

Miller left on his own accord, but after being briefed by his editor Danny Lockwood returned to court and asked to take the stand, rather than speak from the press box, to make his submissions.

The defence lawyer’s argument for the order to be imposed was that publication of the defendant’s names and addresses could incite racial tension.

Miller argued that the incident happened 13 months ago and that in that time there had been no intimidation of people involved in the case. He added that withholding the details would create ill feeling.

Judge Alisdair McCallum denied the application for a section 4 order and all the defence counsels turned down the opportunity to cross-examine Miller, who spoke out against the defence lawyer who asked him to leave.

Miller said: “I felt I had to express my anger about what had happened to me.

“I realised I could have faced a contempt charge had the judge not been sympathetic to the plight of a journalist who had felt intimidated.”

Lockwood added: “I reassured (David) that he was as much a part of this process as the blokes in the wigs.

David has done his profession, himself and justice proud.”

The case continues.

By Sarah Lagan

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