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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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If someone has been charged, gone to court and pleaded

Resolved Question:

If someone has been charged, gone to court and pleaded guilty to a crime etc, is it illegal to write an article/blog post online naming that person and the crime?I'm guessing journalists are protected somehow from this sort of thing as a I see them write about court cases weekly but if a member of the general public writes about it, can it be classed as harassment?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. There is nothing illegal in doing so. There is no special protection for journalists and the law is no different when it comes to private individuals doing the same. There are laws dealing with the naming of a suspect before they have been charged or entered a plea. That is because an inference could be drawn about their guilt and it could amount to defamation. That is why you see that when someone is arrested and not yet charged, any reference is to a person of a certain age, with no name or any other personal information. Once they have been charged or pleaded guilty, anyone is free to publish that information, together with their name. This is because the process is a matter of public disclosure – the court proceedings are a public process and anyone can attend and listen to this, and can then report on what was discussed. There is no right to privacy any more. If the court wanted to retain the privacy of the accused they would have ordered a private hearing or issued a formal order banning the naming of that person. But that is rare and only happens in sensitive cases where naming someone could either pose a safety issue or affect the fairness of a trial. If that has not happened, anyone can mention the details of the person and the crime as they were disclosed in court, whether they are a journalist, company, individual and whether it is done in papers, online, and so on. This is not harassment, it is just publishing information already in the public domain. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's useful information. Does the same apply to using a photograph of the person or is that covered under different laws?IE; using a picture from a facebook account they have publicly available.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
The only thing would be potential copyright violations because the copyright will belong to t person who took the photo but this is only really an issue if used for commercial purposes and the owner is cheated out of profits or licence fees for someone using the photo without their permission. When it comes to private photos, already publicly available and not used for commercial purposes, then really t is not a major issue and it can be used. Hope this clarifies?
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