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‘Harassment row’ reporter set to cover complainant’s court case

A weekly newspaper reporter is set to cover the sentencing of a woman who accused him of harassment while investigating a story.

The Croydon Advertiser’s chief reporter Gareth Davies intends to be at the fraud hearing of Neelam Desai, the newspaper’s website says today.

Three police officers issued him with a “prevention of harassment” notice on March 31 after Desai complained she felt “persecuted” by his attempts to talk to her.

Officers said he faced arrest if he continued to approach her, while Gareth maintains he was simply offering her the right of reply into his investigation into a separate matter.

Desai, 33, of Beulah Grove, Selhurst, has pleaded guilty to a number of fraud charges. The newspaper had expected her sentencing at Croydon Crown Court tomorrow but HTFP understands the case has now been put off to May 16.

Gareth confirmed he intends to cover the hearing.

The police warning prompted condemnation by media and human rights groups.


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  • April 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I think the previous comments miss the point: the harassment order issued against this reporter for carrying out his normal duties is an outrage which has been universally condemned. Lawyers have written to the Met demanding it is withdrawn. It is vitally important for him to continue to work as normal; if he is arrested, then the Met will have to explain its ill-judged decision in court.

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  • April 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Yes, it is an outrage – young Master Davies was working in the public interest – but, still ‘reporter to report on story’ is hardly news.

    Unless, of course, court coverage is so rare these days…

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  • April 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Most weeklies rely on cops press releases on court cases because they have no staff to send. Often unbalanced reports with no mitigation from defendant. Never allowed years ago and a bit dodgy.
    At least this reporter will be there.
    Same for council debates. Never see them in most papers.
    Cheapskate journalism.
    Good on this reporter for trying for balance.

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