Kent Messenger journalist gets court reporting ban lifted

A judge in Kent has bowed to press persuasion and reversed a decision to impose a contempt order on a sentencing hearing at Maidstone crown court.

He had originally imposed the ban on the basis that reporting of the hearing could prejudice the case of another accused at magistrates’ court.

Judge Charles Macdonald QC initially ordered no reporting of Jahmal Corbin-Archie’s community sentence order at Maidstone crown court until the other case was concluded.

The order was imposed at the request of defence lawyer Edmund Fowler and without consultation with law books or the Kent Messenger’s resident court reporter at Maidstone, Keith Hunt.

However, Hunt then wrote to the judge, submitting there could be no possible prejudice to a case being heard by magistrates and quoting various authorities from top judges, including former Master of the Rolls Lord Denning.

“Even if it were a crown court matter, I would be submitting that such an order should not be imposed,” he wrote.

Macdonald later wrote at the top of the two-page submissions: “On further consideration, I revoke the contempt order.”

Corbin-Archie, 24, of Thamesmead, south east London, admitted possessing drugs and assault causing actual bodily harm.

He was given a 12-month supervision and will have to attend a Think First programme and pay his victim £250 compensation.

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