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Press set for better relationship with courts after agreement is reached

Local papers in Norfolk should enjoy a better relationship with crown court judges after an agreement was reached over the implementing of reporting restrictions.

The presiding judge on the Norwich circuit, Judge Peter Jacobs, has circulated a briefing note to his colleagues on the way the media should be treated, following a meeting with Eastern Daily Press assistant editor Paul Durrant and Norwich Evening News deputy editor Tim Williams.

The pair approached Judge Jacobs after the case of a convicted paedophile, who the EDP fought to name after a judge imposed a banning order without explaining why.

Now a briefing note has been distributed which states that the media should be treated with courtesy and taken seriously, that their arguments should be listened to and that advance warning should be given when reporting restrictions are likely to be imposed.

It is hoped the guidelines will also save time by preventing the need for the papers to go over old ground and argue each case from scratch.

EDP assistant editor Paul Durrant said: “It’s my understanding that this is the first time they have said they will do all they can to tell us in advance when it is likely that an order will be made so that we can harness our objections and come armed.

“It is refreshing that a crown court judge is prepared to sit down and talk to people from the media and hear our point of view and then say ‘I can more than see your point…’

“The relationship is better and we feel that we are trusted and that we are in the loop.”

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