The Court of Appeal has fired a warning shot at broadcasters over their recent programmes relating to the Jill Dando killing. Lord Phillips announced the court would be looking into the propriety of broadcasts by the BBC’s Panorama programme as well as a Channel 4 programme broadcast on the evening of the appeal. The comments came as the Court started hearing an appeal from Barry George who was convicted for the brutal killing of the popular television presenter.
Contempt laws are in need of an overhaul anyway as they are not compatible with the 24-7 broadcast and online coverage but that doesn’t mean they can be ignored. Whether the broadcasts will be seen to have intentionally sought to prejudice proceedings may be doubtful but the courts have shown they will punish the media if their actions cause a trial or appeal to collapse.
Duncan Campbell discusses this in more detail in today’s Guardian: HERE