8.12.03

AG applies Fade effect to let Blunkett off the hook

A week after telling news editors what was and was not contempt of court the Attorney General has decided that Home Secretary David Blunkett's comments on the arrest of terror suspect Sajid Badat did not create a substantial risk of prejudice.

Blunkett's robust rapport raised the question of whether his remarks could prejudge and prejudice pending proceedings and as such amount to contempt.

Lord Goldsmith concluded that Blunkett's comments did not amount to contempt. How so?

The AG used two of the very issues he warned the media about overstepping namely, the serious risk of prejudice and the likely time to elapse before a trial - known as the Fade factor.

So for all those news editors looking for practical guidance on what the AG warned them about, we now have some - if you are a terror suspect, then there seems to be less serious risk of serious prejudice and if the trial is not likely to be for a while yet then the Fade factor can apply.

This is not the first time Blunkett has not seemed too bothered about contempt. He has previously said that a particular pop group's lyrics promoted gun culture while one of their number was awaiting trial on firearms charges.

No comments: