The Attorney General confirms the requirement not to publish material that could jeopardise a fair trial.
Following the disappearance of Sarah Everard on the evening of 3 March, a police officer has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The Attorney General Rt. Hon Michael Ellis QC MP wishes to amplify the importance of the requirement not to publish any material that could create a substantial risk that the course of justice in these proceedings could be seriously impeded or prejudiced. This includes publishing information online. Publishing this information could amount to contempt of court and could affect the fairness of any future trial.
In particular, the Attorney General draws attention to the requirement not to publish material that asserts or assumes the guilt of anyone who has been arrested. That is an issue to be determined by the jury if in due course there is a trial. The Attorney General also wishes to remind journalists and members of the public that it can amount to contempt of court to publish information relating to untested and unconnected allegations against the suspect, and matters adverse to his character, the admissibility of which a Judge in due course may need to determine.
Editors, publishers and social media users should take legal advice to ensure they are in a position to fully comply with the obligations to which they are subject under the Contempt of Court Act 1981.
The Attorney General’s Office is monitoring the coverage of this investigation.