Here’s a question for the lawyers. I’d be interested to hear any thoughts from those who study such things..
In this hypothetical case B has been charged with a serious offence and is being tried at the Crown Court. Local press, TV and radio are reporting the trial and it has aroused the interest of several local bloggers who are reporting proceedings and commenting on their blogs. B is found guilty and remanded for sentencing in a few weeks’ time.
During this period media coverage stops. The sentencing hearing (if it ever happened) is not reported. Some time later local bloggers, mystified, check the websites of the local press and broadcast media and find reports of the trial – and the conviction – have disappeared.
Six months later B is again on trial for the same offences. There is no mention in the media of the previous trial and conviction. B is found not guilty and acquitted.
The only explanation the local bloggers can think of is that between the original guilty verdict and sentencing B’s defence team have found a reason for the trial be to declared a mis-trial and have been granted an injunction to prevent the media reporting the original trial and conviction. This prohibition extends to requiring them (or the media’s lawyers to advise them) to delete all on-line references to the trial.
The question is, how are local bloggers expected to know about any such injunction? Presumably they are covered by it, and would potentially be in contempt of court if they mentioned the original conviction when reporting on the second trial. And presumably the court and/or B’s defence lawyers have well-established mechanisms for informing the papers, TV and radio stations. But given the spread of on-line reporting and commenting by people outside the mainstream, how does the court expect the existence and terms of the injunction to be brought to their knowledge? And if a blogger, in all innocence, mentioned the original trial and verdict, what could her defence be?