Justice and the Law

Institute of Journalists questions secret justice in Jon Venables case

Figure of Justice. Image: Christoph2007 – Own work, Public Domain

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned a move to conduct the future trial of Jon Venables in private with even the location of the court building remaining secret.

Professor Tim Crook, who chairs the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, says:

What worries us is that the statement ended up in the mainstream media but it doesn’t have any official source. We can’t find a statement being quoted on the Crown Prosecution Service website or the Ministry of Justice website, or their twitter feed.

He added ‘…we believe justice can only be done if journalists are the watchdogs of democracy and the eyes and ears of the public.

The Institute has released a media statement saying:

The Venables case is another example of the continuing decline of Open Justice in the UK… The Institute argues that reporting restrictions of criminal proceedings can only be valid if the court and judge issuing them, and the extent and terms of the orders are publicly available and accessible.
Media reports on Friday 5th January quoted the CPS statement:

 

The man formerly known as Jon Venables has been charged with offences relating to indecent images of children and will appear in the Crown Court. In order that justice can be done, no further details are being released at this stage and the proceedings are subject to reporting restrictions.
Reporting by Heather Cartwright and Stellar Cheng.

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