Saturday, February 09, 2008

Equal under the law

The Times today reports the case of barrister and Crown Court Recorder Lincoln Crawford, who was convicted for harassing his ex-wife and her new partner in September 2005. Crawford had successfully argued that his conviction should not be reported because the publicity would be harmful to his two children. However, on Friday the High Court ruled that the anonymity order should never have been made, after hearing submissions from The Times.

The report seems to suggest that Crawford was using his position as a barrister and judge to receive special treatment from the court, but I am not so sure. Counsel for the Crown apparently said: “Barristers and part-time judges with children today, politicians tomorrow: where does it end?”, and Lord Justice Thomas said in his judgment that everyone was “equal under the law”. However, there is nothing in the report to suggest that Crawford had argued anything other than that the publicity would be harmful to his children, something that anyone with children can argue, although obviously only cases involving people of public standing or celebrities are likely to attract publicity. Having said that, I agree with the High Court ruling - anonymity should only be granted where there would be particular harm to the children, and the High Court found this not to be the case.

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