A weekly newspaper journalist has successfully fought a bid to ban him from reporting a trial at magistrates court because of his “heavy reporting” of previous cases which a witness claimed “intimidated” her.
Gareth Davies, chief reporter at the Croydon Advertiser, has been covering a case at Croydon Magistrates’ Court but claimed defence solicitors were attempting to have him removed while a key witness gives evidence.
He was told that a defence witness, who is the mother of the defendant, had an issue with him and did not want to give evidence while he is in the room.
But Gareth successfully fought off the bid to exclude him, which would also apply to all other members of the press, after making a submission to the court this afternoon.
Gareth has been tweeting regular updates from his @Gareth_Davies09 account and said he believed it would be unprecedented if a specific journalist was banned from being in court.
Tweeting about his success, he wrote: “Update: I made my submission and the judge rejected the application. I’m not to be excluded from the court.
He reported the words of the district judge who said: “What I find difficult in seeing is how witness will find the press intimidating.”
Defendant John Page has now been found guilty of threatening a 13-year-old girl and will be sentenced on 28 November.
And Gareth revealed that the Advertiser’s successful Lillian’s Law campaign to bring in new drug-driving laws was linked to the case, because Page knocked over and killed 14-year-old Lillian Groves after smoking cannabis, which sparked the campaign.
Gareth was praised by several regional editors and other journalists who had been following the unfolding saga on Twitter.
Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill tweeted: “Thank God common sense has prevailed at Croydon magistrates court. And full marks to @Gareth_Davies09 for sticking to his guns.”
South Wales Argus editor Kevin Ward said: “Follow @Gareth_Davies09 for updates on a ridiculous attack on press freedom today. Thankfully he (and common sense) has won the day. ”
The unfolding story can be seen on Gareth’s Twitterfeed below.