Published on 12 Jun 2014

A partial victory for open justice

A rare media victory today in the controversy over secret trials.

The court of appeal today pulled back one or two of the layers of secrecy intended to cover the reporting of a forthcoming terror trial involving two characters known as AB and CD.

First, their names can be published and for the record, they are Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar.

Second, the media will be allowed to report some aspects like the jury swearing-in, judge’s introductory remarks, some of the prosecution opening, verdicts and sentencing. So now only partial secrecy.

But the appeal judge Lord Justice Gross went slightly further, saying that a small group of state-accredited journalists will be allowed to follow proceedings but their notes will impounded at end of each day and be held until some future date.

Today decision is in effect a score draw. The trial will from the public’s point of view still take place behind closed doors, but the media can claim victory for preventing the state from operating in a complete shroud of secrecy.

Such are the vagaries of our wonderful system, based on the fundamental principle of open justice.

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4 reader comments

  1. Philip Edwards says:

    Simon,

    “…a small group of state-accredited journalists…*

    We have that already with the Lobby System in Parliament, plus neocon mass ownership of mainstream media in a capitalist state.

    For Volkischer Beobachter read “Daily Mail”, for Der Sturmer read “Sun”. For Josef Goebbels read Rupert Murdoch or any of the other Brit/Yank media oligarchs.

    Anyone who thinks we have a free media is living in cloud cuckoo land – ask Robert Peston, and he’s the one who wrote “Greed is good” in his book “Who Runs Britain?”

    So nothing new here except a capitalist state tightening its grip. Matters will worsen until enough people decide to get rid of its corrupt perpetrators.

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      Well Philip, how could we protect witnesses from revenge attacks? Even in ordinary trials witnesses are often vulnerable.

      How would any legal system, anywhere, provide witness protection when terrorism is on trial?

  2. Alan says:

    You can only read this style of announcement in the corporate media.

  3. Cellarman says:

    What are the fellers charged with?

    The trial is a travesty of justice before it’s even begun.

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