A defence barrister who tried to stop a news agency publishing a photograph of her client was thwarted by the intervention of a judge who told her “I confess that I think you are in grave difficulties.
Reporter Olly Hemans, covering the case of an RE teacher accused of sexual activity with a child, successfully challenged the defence application to have the defendant’s picture barred.
Patricia May, representing defendant Gary Munday, was not happy that INS News Agency photographer Maros Herc had photographed him leaving Aylesbury Crown Court.
She applied to Judge Christopher Tyrer for an order banning publication of the photo, even though Munday was publicly identified by name.
May submitted that by picturing Munday members of his community would be able to identify his alleged victims.
Hemans, an INS News reporter, challenged the submission in open court and Judge Tyrer adjourned his decision for several hours.
In the meantime Hemans contacted INS news desk and relayed the news of the defence bid, which was met with short shrift by editor Neil Hyde.
Armed with a letter to the judge, written by Hyde, Hemans returned to the court on Wednesday afternoon and reinforced his challenge.
He pointed out the representations from his news desk which stated that the court had no power to apply a Section 39 on the defendant; the picture of Munday was already in the public domain; juvenile witnesses were already protected by law; and anyone who might be able to identify the victims through Munday would not need a picture of him to do so.
Submitting that there was no basis in law for the application, Hyde went further in his letter to the judge, stating: “I would suggest the grounds put forward by the defence are spurious and potentially aimed at protecting their client and not others associated with the case.”
After considering both sides, Judge Tyrer turned to Mrs May and said: “If you would like to make more representations I will have to invite INS to send someone to represent them but I confess I think you are in grave difficulties.”
The defence barrister conceded her position after INS News Agency pointed out that her application had no legal basis.
She then agreed she had “difficulties” and addressed Judge Tyrer, stating: “I fear we are, Your Honour.”
Munday, a 42-year-old father-of-four, was on trial accused of three counts of sexual activity with children during a brief spell as a religious education teacher at a school in south Buckinghamshire.