Contempt case to be opened over IRA arrest

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The Independent Online
SIR NICHOLAS LYELL, the Attorney General, was yesterday given leave to launch contempt of court proceedings against Independent Television News and the publishers of several newspapers over their coverage of the arrest of Paul Magee, an IRA terrorist.

The Attorney General said the reports referred to Magee's terrorist past and created a substantial risk of prejudicing his trial.

Lord Justice Simon Brown and Mr Justice Buckley gave leave to start action against ITN and Associated Newspapers, News (UK) Ltd, Express Newspapers and Westminster Press, respectively the publishers of the Daily Mail, Today, the Daily Express and the Northern Echo.

Magee, 45, was jailed in March at the Old Bailey for 30 years for murdering a special constable and trying to murder three other officers. His co-accused, Michael O'Brien, 32, was cleared of murder but convicted of attempting to murder two officers.

In 1981 Magee escaped from jail in Belfast three days before the end of a trial in which he was accused of murdering an SAS officer. He was convicted in his absence and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was later detained in the Irish Republic, but skipped bail while facing extradition. He travelled to England in June last year, when PC Glenn Goodman was killed.