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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Police Criticise Media Who Name and Publish Photo of Claudia Suspect

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3:12pm 14th May 2014

North Yorkshire Police has criticised media outlets which have named and published a photo of the man arrested on suspicion of the murder of Claudia Lawrence, saying it could harm any possible future court case.

A 59 year old York man is still being questioned by officers this afternoon after being arrested yesterday.

His name and photograph have been widely circulated on national and local media, although Minster FM is among the media outlets who have not named the man or published an image of him.

In a statement this afternoon, the force has criticised media which took the decision to publish the man's name and photo saying:

North Yorkshire Police recognise the important role the media has played in the case of Claudia Lawrence and the public support and response that flows from it.

Nevertheless, it is vital that all those trusted with the responsibility for reporting recent events do so in a way that is balanced, proportionate, fair and factual.

The investigation team have to objectively balance the rights of any individual or individuals arrested and ensure their rights under due legal process are properly exercised and protected.

The reporting of names, addresses, media interviews with potential witnesses and publication of photographs of individuals, subject to live investigation, has the effect of significantly hampering the objectivity of ongoing enquiries. It can also be described as prejudicial to the rights of others, their access to fair legal process and, potentially, a fair trial.

Such is the level of concern North Yorkshire Police have on some imbalance of reporting and the potential cumulative effect such reporting could have on any later legal process, they have taken the unusual but important step of reminding all media outlets that proceedings become active under the Contempt of Court Act following the arrest of any individual or individuals.

 

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