In the Media

Editors to pay when reports wreck trials

PUBLISHED September 16, 2004

Newspaper editors could be forced to reimburse millions of pounds in wasted costs if they are found liable for causing the collapse of a criminal trial, under new rules announced yesterday.

The change in the law follows a series of high-profile cases in which judges have had to order retrials in the wake of adverse media coverage. In 2002 the first trial of the former Leeds footballers Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate was abandoned at a cost of £10m after the Sunday Mirror published an interview that was deemed to be in contempt of court. Ministers said that jurors, witnesses and members of the public would also face fines if their behaviour was found to amount to "serious misconduct" which led to the abandonment of a criminal case.