Why challenging a court order is one of the most important things a reporter can do
Challenging a court order may be a daunting prospect, but it’s also one of the most important and public-serving parts of the job, says Hannah Thaxter, Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post
Challenging court decisions is never an easy thing to do but the Yorkshire Evening Post court reporter Tony Gardner is an old hand at the task.
Nonetheless even he was thrown slightly when a judge was asked to consider a ban on publishing the address of a policeman who was charged with having viewed “some of the worst child sex images” and videos.
The PC was given a community sentence which meant that not only would he be free to go home, but that no photograph would be supplied to us.
His name was a common one, David Griffiths, which meant when his barrister asked that his address be withheld for his own protection it would have left us virtually unable to report the court case without an identification issue.
Tony immediately challenged the request — and nipped outside to try to get a photograph of Griffiths.
He was a police officer of some years standing, and, at the time of offences was still a civilian officer working for WYPolice. His barrister thought that would be enough to persuade the court that he should be protected.
Thanks to Tony’s intervention , and support from the newsdesk in backing up our claim with some swiftly-sought legal advice, the judge has ruled that his address should be given in open court and published.
She said: “I do not see why Griffiths is any different from any other police officer who found themselves guilty of breaking the law, nor any man.”
Well done to Tony Gardner once more for standing up for justice and being dogged in ensuring that justice is not only done, but seen to be done.
Not only will this show that we do report such cases, but that we do challenge the courts over reporting restrictions.
This comes as some satisfaction to us in Leeds given the flack Tony and the newsdesk has had to field over the Tommy Robinson court case.