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Court chiefs say sorry after reporter ‘summarily barred’ from hearings

John GarveyCourt bosses have apologised to a chief reporter after he was “summarily barred” from hearings at one venue.

Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service has blamed “human error” after Newbury Weekly News journalist John Garvey was wrongly ejected from Reading Magistrates’ Court.

John, pictured, was ejected after he arrived to cover a case on Thursday when magistrates would not to proceed while he was present at the hearing.

The court, which does not provide dedicated press benches, has taped off all public seating since it reopened following the coronavirus lockdown.

There is also no facility for the press or public to view proceedings remotely.

John said: “The usher said I would have to leave.

“I appealed to the clerk and protested that the court should be open to the public but the magistrates stopped the proceedings and it was clear the case would not proceed while I was there.

“I’m used to having to sit with defendants’ families looking over my shoulder as I take notes and to being asked for identification by court staff as soon as I pull out a notebook, but this is the first time I’ve been summarily barred.”

HMCTS has now apologised for John’s ejection.

A spokesperson for the organisation told the Weekly News: “This was human error and we have apologised to the reporter.

“Staff are working hard to keep people safe and ensure social distancing guidance is followed but have been reminded of their responsibilities to maintain open access to justice.”