Witnesses: Protection

Justice written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell Liberal Democrat, Hazel Grove

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to provide courts with additional powers to prevent the media harassment of witnesses nominally granted anonymity; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

The Government currently has no plans to do so. While witnesses who are subject to reporting restrictions which prohibit the publication of their identity can be approached by representatives of the media, the Editors Code of Practice prohibits intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

Furthermore the courts have the power to find anyone molesting, assaulting or threatening a witness who is going to or returning from court in contempt, and under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 harassing a person is a criminal offence.

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