Spectator magazine fined after Rod Liddle article during Stephen Lawrence murder trial

13:00 07 June 2012

The parents of Stephen Lawrence will receive £2,000 from The Spectator magazine after the publication of an article which risked jeopardising the trial of two men later convicted of murdering the teenager.

The magazine’s publisher was also fined £3,000 after admitting a charge relating to an article on November 17 last year in which columnist Rod Liddle described defendants Gary Dobson and David Norris as “white trash” while the trial was taking place at the Old Bailey.

It also contained prejudicial information about their previous convictions and behaviour which, although previously in the public domain, was subject to reporting restrictions during the trial.

Dobson and Norris were convicted of the 1993 murder in January and jailed for life.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court today the magazine’s publisher Spectator 1828 Ltd admitted a charge of breaching a court order made under Section 83 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Its solicitor Brian Spiro apologised unreservedly to the Lawrence family and everyone involved with the case for what he said had been a “sad sequence of events” that led to the article being published.

District Judge Howard Riddle said: “Apart from the fact that the article breached a court order the reality is that as a result of publication there was at least a brief period during a sensitive part of the trial in which the whole trial process itself was in jeopardy.

“Fortunately it is clear that the jury did not read the article and the trial was able to come to a fair conclusion. But for Mr and Mrs Lawrence and members of their family the prospect of the trial collapsing must have been terrifying.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Friday, April 24, 2015
Police want to talk to this woman about the incident

Police have released an image of a woman they want to speak to after a Muslim woman wearing a head scarf was racially abused on a Piccadilly line train.

Friday, April 24, 2015
Peter Mussett sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl on the DLR

A 32-year-old man carried out an ‘incredibly frightening’ sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl travelling alone on the DLR.

Friday, April 24, 2015
Police have released a CCTV image of a cyclist believed to have knocked a woman to the ground.

CCTV images of a cyclist accused of forcefully knocking a woman over in Bermondsey before speeding off have been released by police.

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Ambrose Ball has been missing since January 24

Police have recovered a body from the River Lea and believe it may be that of Ambrose Ball, who went missing in January after crashing his car.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Scotland Yard would like to speak to this man in connection with the attack [Photo by Metropolitan Police]

A 13-year-old girl was sexually attacked on a Bromley-bound bus, police have revealed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The man was attacked until he got off the train at King's Cross station (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A Victoria Line passenger was subjected to a vile racist tirade after asking a man not to spit on the Underground.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

We have censored part of this image

Keith Fraser, the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has apologised after retweeting an Islamophobic cartoon which looks similar to Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of the Prophet yesterday morning.