The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) has allowed an appeal brought by the BBC against a reporting restriction made at Worcester Crown Court.
Rupert Jones acted for the BBC in the application to the Crown Court to remove the order. This application was refused. The BBC (supported by Associated Newspapers, Guardian News and Media, Mirror Group Newspapers, News Group Newspapers, the Press Association and Times Newspapers) appealed to the Court of Appeal, where they were represented by counsel from Matrix Chambers.
In R v Sarker (2018) EWCA Crim 1341, in which the judgment was given by The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett of Maldon, Rupert’s skeleton argument was endorsed by the Court of Appeal as correctly identifying the legal principles and their application to the facts of the case. The BBC relied upon Rupert’s written submissions in the appeal, and the key submissions from Rupert’s skeleton were copied into the judgment (at paragraph 14).
The judgment is an important reminder that reporting restrictions under s4(2) Contempt of Court Act 1981 are orders of last resort to be made in exceptional cases. Further, the fear that jurors would be signposted to prejudicial material already in the public domain is not a proper basis upon which a postponement order can be made.
Rupert has previously successfully represented newspapers across the country in relation to reporting restrictions, libel and contempt of court.