Citizen protests prompt judge to reverse press ban

A Crown Court judge has reversed his decision to bar the press from cases involving drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs) – sentences given to drug users to stop them committing crime to feed their addicition – after protests from The Citizen, Gloucester.

Judge Gabriel Hutton had ordered the paper’s journalist to leave his court, but allowed members of the public to stay.

He has recently been lobbied by the probation service to hear them in private session.

The Citizen’s lawyers sent the judge a letter demanding to know his reasons and were told there was no requirement for him to give his reasons. However, after discussion with a court official, he has agreed that in future the press would not be excluded from the hearings.

Sara Cotter, of Foot Anstey Sargent solicitors, said Judge Hutton’s refusal to give reasons for his exclusion was "an extraordinary breach of common law" and has sent another letter to him protesting at this.

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