Lawyer urges restraint in media coverage

A TOP QC has today warned that the media must exercise restraint in its coverage of criminal cases.Geoffrey Vos QC, the new chair of the Bar Council was talking on the Radio 4 Today programme and was responding to concerns about reporting of the deaths of five women in Ipswich and the subsequent police investigation last month.

A TOP QC has today warned that the media must exercise restraint in its coverage of criminal cases.

Geoffrey Vos QC, the new chair of the Bar Council was talking on the Radio 4 Today programme and was responding to concerns about reporting of the deaths of five women in Ipswich and the subsequent police investigation last month.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has urged the media to show restraint in reporting the murders and said he would review the coverage if necessary.

Suffolk chief constable Alastair McWhirter also advised editors to exercise caution in identifying any individuals involved in its inquiry.

Mr Vos said today: "I think the practice is probably pretty well in line with the law at the moment. The problem with the Ipswich murders was that the press reporting was absolutely monumental - huge, perhaps unprecedented.”

He added: "In my view, the law is probably quite adequate. It's a question of the press exercising some kind of restraint and in showing that its publicity properly meets the situation.'

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He conceded that a lot of reporting "raises eyebrows", but added: "You mustn't underestimate the sophistication of the public.

"The law is not saying that the press cannot publicise events of public interest. In fact, they should do so. The law is simply saying that the press mustn't do anything that creates substantial risk of serious prejudice to the fair trial of a defendant in the future.'

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