The New Yorker's Lucy Letby article: a useful reminder about contempt of court laws

May 17, 2024
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Commenting in Press Gazette, Partner Jon Oakley discusses contempt of court laws in light of The New Yorker publishing a piece about Lucy Letby in print and on the mobile app in the UK, despite the article being blocked on its website.

"The contempt of court laws exist so as to try to prevent the publication of material that would otherwise create a substantial risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced, helping to ensure that those accused of criminal offences receive a fair trial. In practice, this means that once charges in a criminal case have been brought, press reports of the proceedings are normally neutral in tone until a verdict has been reached.  

"There is no distinction in the law between publication in a hard copy or electronically. The question as to whether it is permissible to publish certain information will be fact-sensitive in each case, and it will be for the publisher in question to ensure that they stay on the right side of the law, especially given that the penalties for breaching the law can be serious."

Jon's comments were published in Press Gazette, 15 May 2024.

Jon OakleyJon Oakley
Jon Oakley
Jon Oakley

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