The excellent @Courtnewsuk has alerted me and the world via twitter to some odd goings-on at Westminster Magistrates Court. It’s @courtnewsuk’s job as court reporters to scour court lists and work out what to cover – they are one of the, possibly THE experts in covering court stories in London as a news agency.
They have spotted something odd happening at Westminster Magistrates court. Well-known defendents sometimes mysteriously don’t appear on the daily list of proceedings and also might not get their personal details read out.
@CourtNewsUK: For those interested in transparency, Chris Huhne’s name was mysteriously omitted from today’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court list.
@CourtNewsUK: A couple of weeks ago, John Terry’s name and personal details were also omitted. All equal before the law?
@CourtNewsUK Normally we would expect to see full name, date of birth, full home address, and the precise charges in each case.
All very odd – if there were to be for instance grounds to keep an address or appearance confidential, maybe a stalker or fanatical fans then that should be heard before the court, not in some side deal with the clerks. And it’s hard to say that Chris Huhne has problems with fanatical fans. Both the above cases were scheduled some time in advance and there’s no clear reason for exceptions here.
So what’s going on here – surely celebrity status doesn’t garner special favours from the court?
I am working with court news in my role as member of the government’s crime and justice sector transparency panel to unpick the weird goings-on in basic information about Britain’s courts and will update further.
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