Regina v Evesham Justices, ex parte McDonnagh: QBD 1988

The court considered the existence of a power in the magistrates court to order a hearing to be held in camera and referred to section 11 of the 1981 Act. Watkins LJ said: ‘However, I am bound to say that I am impressed with the argument that the action taken by the justices in the present case had nothing to do with the administration of justice. It seems to me that the concern shown by the justices for not giving publicity to Mr. Hocking’s home address was solely motivated by their sympathy for his well-being if his former wife should learn of his home address and harass him yet again. That kind of predicament is not, unfortunately, unique. There are undoubtedly many people who find themselves defending criminal charges who for all manner of reasons would like to keep unrevealed their identity, their home address in particular. Indeed, I go so far as to say that in the vast majority of cases, in magistrates’ courts anyway, defendants would like their identity to be unrevealed and would be capable of advancing seemingly plausible reasons why that should be so. But, section 11 was not enacted for the benefit of the comfort and feelings of defendants. The general rule enunciated in the passage I have quoted from Attorney-General v Leveller Magazine Limited [1979] A.C. 440, 450, may not, as is there stated, be departed from save where the nature or the circumstances of proceedings are such that the application of the general rule in its entirety would frustrate or render impracticable the administration of justice.’
References: [1988] 1 QB 553
Judges: Watkins LJ, Mann J
Statutes: Contempt of Court Act 1981 11
This case cites:

  • Cited – Attorney-General v Leveller Magazine Ltd HL 1-Feb-1979
    The appellants were magazines and journalists who published, after committal proceedings, the name of a witness, a member of the security services, who had been referred to as Colonel B during the hearing. An order had been made for his name not to . .
    (, [1979] AC 440, [1978] 3 All ER 731, [1979] 2 WLR 247)

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Times Newspapers Ltd and others v Regina and others CMAC 24-Oct-2008
    Anonymity not to be by secret trial
    The newspaper appealed against an order for the defendant soldiers’ trial to be held in camera.
    Held: Section 94(2) could not be used to provide anonymity. The court relied on its common law powers under which: ‘for us to be entitled to make . .
    (, [2008] EWCA Crim 2396, [2009] 1 WLR 1015)
  • Cited – Times Newspapers Ltd and others v Soldier B CACD 24-Oct-2008
    (Court’s Martial Appeal Court) The newspaper appealed against an order under section 94 of the 1955 Act restricting the identification of the defendants. The judge had said there would be a threat to both the safety of the defendants and as to the . .
    (, [2008] EWCA Crim 2559)
  • Cited – Harper and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Aldershot Magistrates Court Admn 8-Jun-2010
    Police defendants not to have addresses withheld
    The defendants, senior police officers were accused of misconduct in public office, being said to have sought improperly to interfere in prosecutions for speeding. They appealed against refusal by the magistrates to have their addresses protected. . .
    (, [2010] EWHC 1319 (Admin), (2010) 174 JP 410)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.277159