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Free speech and its limitations

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suze
1385175.  Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:30 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
The press can report the proceedings, they are however bound by the court order - so should they disclose the name, they would be in contempt of court - as would Colum Eastwood should he disclose the name outside of parliament.


I don't think that's quite right. While it would not be in order for a newspaper to state that the real name of Soldier F is Aardvark Zebedee (it isn't by the way, I just made that up), a newpspaper can report that Colum Eastwood MP used Parliamentary privilege to assert it as Aardvark Zebedee.

Going back a decade now, you may recall Mr Ryan Giggs going to law to prevent an extra-marital affair of his becoming known. All the newspapers spent several days saying in effect "We know who 'a well known footballer' is, but sorry, we're not allowed to tell you". That changed after an MP used Parliamentary privilege to assert that the well known footballer was in fact Mr Giggs - and all the media did report on that, while being careful not to express an opinion on whether or not the MP's assertion was correct.

So I think that Alexander's suggestion - that not printing the name was a voluntary act by the media - is correct. I am slightly surprised that American and Irish media have also chosen not to print the name. Those media are beyond the reach of any British court, and the name is in any case readily available to anyone who cares to consult Hansard.

It is reported that the name also appears on one of the murals in Derry/Londonderry, lending support to Mr Eastwood's claim that it was already well known in that city.

The purpose of the anonymity order is presumably to protect Soldier F from attempts at reprisal. Well sorry, but that ship sailed half a century ago; the organisation most likely to attempt any such reprisal has undoubtedly known his name all along.

 
barbados
1385178.  Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:50 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
barbados wrote:
The press can report the proceedings, they are however bound by the court order - so should they disclose the name, they would be in contempt of court - as would Colum Eastwood should he disclose the name outside of parliament.


I don't think that's quite right. While it would not be in order for a newspaper to state that the real name of Soldier F is Aardvark Zebedee (it isn't by the way, I just made that up), a newpspaper can report that Colum Eastwood MP used Parliamentary privilege to assert it as Aardvark Zebedee.

If that is the case, then rather than

Quote:
Just in case, please can we not use the real name here.


put your head above the parapet, and put his name out there attributed to you.
I doubt very much you would do that - you are far too sensible, but all the same - the "just in case" suggests you don't believe you can break the anonymity without legal repercussions

 
suze
1385179.  Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:55 am Reply with quote

I am not a lawyer, and I don't know. Furthermore, it's not my arse that is on the line if these forums step outside the law.

But the bottom line is that Soldier F's continued right to legal anonymity is useless. The Bad Guys knew his name years ago, and by now so does everybody else who wants to.

 
barbados
1385183.  Wed Jul 14, 2021 12:52 pm Reply with quote

Neither am I a lawyer, but the "bad guys" would have known his name on January 30th 1972. That isn't relevant.
Your question was because his name had been revealed in parliament, then the press should report the name. If they were able to, then why didn't Mr Eastwood announce the name on Twitter? simply because he knew if he had done so he would be in contempt of court. The same applies to Mr Murdoch.

 
dr.bob
1385571.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:22 am Reply with quote

Do you have any evidence to back up your repeated claim that the media are unable to report what Mr Eastwood announced in parliament?

What about the example suze gave above of the Ryan Giggs super injunction? The media published his name widely after it was revealed in parliament, even though the super injunction was still in force.

 
barbados
1385573.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:29 am Reply with quote

The information on reporting restrictions are available on the CPS website- however as I suggested to suze - if you think it is reportable, put your head above the parapet, give your name and your position within the forum- which will provide contact information to the authorities, and name him yourself.

 
dr.bob
1385575.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:38 am Reply with quote

That'll be a "no" then.

 
barbados
1385578.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:15 am Reply with quote

No it won’t, it’s most definitely a “the information on reporting restrictions is available on the cps website”
Apologies for repeating exactly the same as my previous post - you seemed to have missed it first time round.
Anything constructive to add?

 
dr.bob
1385583.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:49 am Reply with quote

It would be helpful if you provided a link to the specific part of the CPS website to which you refer. It would be even more helpful if you explained why the part of the CPS website to which you link backs up your claim.

It would be amazingly helpful if you would also tackle the issue raised by suze about the media's actions in relation to the super injunction concerning Ryan Giggs, and how that tallies with your claim.

Alternatively, you could simply continue to be unhelpful. I mean, why break the habit of a lifetime?

 
barbados
1385591.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 6:07 am Reply with quote

If only there was a tool that you could use where you could enter something like “reporting restrictions contempt of court” then when you press enter it displays all of the information you desire.

I bet there’s a market for that sort of tool and you could make a killing if you were to use your skill set to make it available to the masses

 
PDR
1385606.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:15 am Reply with quote

From my usderstanding Barbados is right. The CPS website (my emphasis):

Quote:
Actus reus and mens rea of criminal contempt
The actus reus of common law criminal contempt is an act or omission which creates a real risk of prejudice to the administration of justice. However, it is not necessary that the proceedings are actually prejudiced, and conduct which indicates a wilful defiance of or disrespect to the court, or which challenges or affronts the authority of the court as the guardian of the rule of law will suffice. The mens rea is an intention to interfere with the administration of justice. However, following Solicitor General v Cox [2016] EWHC 1241 (QB), this intention can be inferred from the circumstances. It is sufficient proof of the necessary mens rea that the act was deliberate and either in breach of the criminal law or a court order which the person knew of. It is not necessary that the contemnor should know what the criminal law prohibits before he can be found to have committed contempt.


But I think this is a complex matter that needs a constitutional lawyer. Clearly an MP has privilege and can thus violate the reporting restrictions. But it is my understanding that that privilege is restricted entirely to the MP in the specific place, and is not transferable (either to another place or another person). So I understand that an MP can break the restriction in The House, but cannot then use this as protection should s/he subsequently repeat the same information in public or (in my inference) to protect someone else who reports the content of his breach in a newspaper because that would still be committing the offence even though no actual prejudice could result.

But I could be completely wrong in that understanding and inference.

PDR

 
barbados
1385607.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:23 am Reply with quote

Thanks Pete
On the phone writing is small and copying links are sometimes less than reliable with a bunch of bananas at the end of each arm.
There’s a judiciary site as well that provides similar information (if only one cares to look)

 
suze
1385608.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:58 am Reply with quote

If PDR's understanding is correct, why did the media report Ryan Giggs' name after it had been given in Parliament under privilege?

Had one newspaper - probably The Guardian - chosen to publish and be damned and in effect said "Go to law if you dare" to Mr Giggs, that would have been one thing. But in fact they all did, and that wouldn't have happened unless they had good reason to believe it was legal so to do.

Erskine May seems to me to say that one is permitted under common law to report the proceedings of Parliament, lncluding anything said under Parliamentary privilege.

Accordingly, the media's decision not to print the name of Soldier F was voluntary rather than compelled by law.

 
barbados
1385614.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:21 am Reply with quote

Although Erskine May tells us that the privilege of the house doesn’t protect the reporting of the events in the house.
Does that not suggest that should the media decide to share Soldier F’s name they would still leave themselves open to contempt charges?

 
suze
1385618.  Tue Jul 20, 2021 11:24 am Reply with quote

The first sentence does indeed say that, but the second sentence qualifies it quite considerably.

The matter is sufficiently grey and sufficiently sensitive that I can understand why the media chose to exercise discretion, but the precedent of Ryan Giggs stills says to me that they didn't have to.

 

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