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Urgent media advisory on the case of Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Soumaya Boufassil and Zakaria Boufassil

29/04/2016

It has come to our attention that some reporting of the case of Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Soumaya Boufassil and Zakaria Boufassil who appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today is in breach of Section 52A of the Crime and Disorder Act, section 7 of which states:

52A Restrictions on reporting

(7) The following matters may be contained in a report of allocation or sending proceedings published or included in a relevant programme without an order under subsection (2) above before the time authorised by subsection (6) above -

(a) the identity of the court and the name of the justice or justices;

(b) the name, age, home address and occupation of the accused;

(c) in the case of an accused charged with an offence in respect of which notice has been given to the court under section 51B above, any relevant business information;

(d) the offence or offences, or a summary of them, with which the accused is or are charged;

(e) the names of counsel and solicitors engaged in the proceedings;

(f) where the proceedings are adjourned, the date and place to which they are adjourned;

(g) the arrangements as to bail;

(h)whether a right to representation funded by the Legal Services Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service was granted to the accused or any of the accused.

We strongly advise you check the restrictions and ensure you are not breaching them. Please also make note of the strict liability rule from the Criminal Courts guidance published by the Judicial College:

"3.1 The strict liability rule

The Contempt of Court Act 1981 provides the framework for all reporting of criminal proceedings in England and Wales. Sections 1 and 2 of the Act create the strict liability rule, which makes it a contempt of court to publish anything to the public which creates a substantial risk that the course of justice in the proceedings in question will be seriously impeded or prejudiced, even if there is no intent to cause such prejudice. In practice this means that ignorance of the law or of the existence of a reporting restriction or its terms is no defence if contempt is committed.

The strict liability rule applies to all publications, which is defined very widely as including "any speech, writing, programme included in a programme service or other communication in whatever form, which is addressed to the public at large"...

...The strict liability rule only applies once proceedings are "active", which means that the relevant initial step must have been taken, such as placing a suspect under arrest."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly ACPO) and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.