Gareth Davies wins open justice battle in court

Pic: John Linwood

The Croydon Advertiser’s chief reporter has won an open justice battle after a judge at a Croydon court was asked to ban him from the courtroom “in the interest of justice” on Wednesday November 21.

Gareth Davies took to Twitter on Wednesday November 21, to report that the trial of John Page, 37, charged with intimidating a 13-year-old girl, had been held up at Croydon Magistrates Court after a request was made to have the journalist excluded from the case.

In 2010, Page was convicted of killing 14-year-old Lillian Grove while driving under the influence of drugs. The request for Davies’ removal from court came when Page’s mother refused to give evidence in his presence, claiming that his response to her son’s previous trial left her feeling intimidated.

Davies tweeted during the day: “Page’s mum said I persecuted him by launching a campaign against drug-driving.”

Davies said there was “no chance” he would sit outside the courtroom while proceedings took place so a formal application was submitted to secure his exclusion.

But District Judge Hunter eventually rejected the application. He said: “What I find difficult in seeing is how [the] witness will find the press intimidating”.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, told Eastlondonlines: “It’s outrageous that any lawyer should even consider trying to get a journalist banned from a court hearing.

“While the relatives of someone involved in a court case might indeed be upset by certain coverage, lawyers should know better.”

He added: “Individual reporters should not be threatened in this way. We are supposed to have a free press.”

Court resumed this afternoon despite Page’s mother still refusing to give evidence in defense of her son.

Page was found guilty of threatening the 13-year-old girl.

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