Daily Mirror refused leave to appeal over Christopher Jefferies stories


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The Independent Online

A newspaper fined by the High Court over articles which created "substantial risks to the course of justice" in the wake of the killing of landscape architect Joanna Yeates has been refused permission to appeal to the highest court in the land.

Last July three judges in London handed out a £50,000 penalty to the Daily Mirror and one of £18,000 to The Sun after they were found guilty of contempt of court.

Mirror Group Newspapers then sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court over the contempt finding.

Today the Supreme Court announced that permission had been refused.

The reasons given were that the application did not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which "ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time" and "because this was a very clear case of contempt of court".

News Group Newspapers, publishers of The Sun, had withdrawn its application.

Contempt proceedings were brought against the publishers of the two tabloids by Attorney General Dominic Grieve over stories published after the arrest of Miss Yeates's landlord Christopher Jefferies on suspicion of her murder in December 2010.

The fines were imposed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and two other leading judges, who ruled that the newspapers were in contempt over reports about Mr Jefferies, a retired schoolmaster in his 60s.

In separate High Court proceedings on the same day as the contempt findings Mr Jefferies accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages from eight newspapers over allegations made against him over Miss Yeates's death.

Miss Yeates, 25, who lived in Clifton, Bristol, disappeared on December 17 2010 after going for Christmas drinks with colleagues.

Her frozen body was found on a roadside verge in Failand, Somerset, on Christmas Day.

Mr Jefferies was arrested on December 30. He was subsequently released without charge.

At Bristol Crown Court last October, Dutchman Vincent Tabak who lived next door to Miss Yeates, was found guilty of her murder and jailed for life