Coroner refuses to lift reporting ban

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE North Humberside coroner, Peter Gladwyn, yesterday refused to lift an order banning the reporting of evidence into the death of a prisoner while being escorted to jail near Hull by Group 4, writes Malcolm Pithers.

He had imposed the ban on Monday under Section 4 of the Contempt of Court Act of 1981. Dr Gladwyn had been approached by Peter Collier, counsel representing the Crown in the trial of three men at Doncaster Crown Court.

Following discussions with Mr Collier and the trial judge the coroner ruled that reporting of the evidence of an inquest into the death of Ernest Hogg, 38, from Dundee, a remand prisoner who died on 8 May last year might be prejudicial to the Doncaster trial.

Yesterday after hearing representations from Patrick Moloney, the barrister representing the Press Association, the BBC and others, Dr Gladwyn said that the contempt order would continue.

He ruled there was a 'substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice' if the reporting ban was lifted. Mr Hogg died while in the custody of Group 4, the private security company which also provides a prison escort service. He collapsed in an escort van and died in hospital four days later.

The inquest is continuing and the jury is due to hear evidence from Group 4 today. Sixty-three witnesses are expected to give evidence at the hearing which will last three weeks. The coroner's ban is expected to be lifted at the conclusion of the crown court trial.