Scots media win right to name drug-dealing lawyer - Press Gazette

Scots media win right to name drug-dealing lawyer

By Hamish MacKay

Scottish news organisations have exposed a drug-dealing lawyer after persuading a judge to lift an anonymity order.

Angela Baillie, 32, admitted supplying heroin and diazepam, worth more than £1,600, to a client who was an inmate of Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow.

Lork Kinclaven initially acceded to a plea by Baillie’s counsel that reporting restrictions should be put in place under the Contempt of Court Act in order to protect his client’s identity on the grounds that it could prejudice other proceedings.

However, the Scottish Daily Record, Scottish Sunday Mail, The Herald, Scottish Daily Mail, the BBC and Scottish Television successfully persuaded the judge to change his mind.

Their QC, Paul Cullen, said the law "should not be used as a cloak to protect the identity of someone like Miss Baillie unless there are very extreme circumstances, and in this case it is my submission in this matter that it falls very short indeed of that".

Scottish media lawyer Campbell Deane told Press Gazette that a major problem for the media was that the courts saw reporting restrictions as simply an administrative function.

He said: "That it is not can be borne out by the media backlash over what it sees as its right to publish this information, which should not be interfered with.

"Given that there are a further 12 solicitors in Scotland currently on petition charges, then a dusting down of the current legislation… may be advisable before the courts grant more reporting restrictions."