'Punch' editor faces Shayler article fine

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The Independent Online

The editor of Punch magazine has avoided a prison sentence after being found guilty of contempt of court for publishing an article by the former MI5 officer David Shayler in breach of a gagging injunction. Instead, James Steen could face a fine, depending on a later hearing.

The editor of Punch magazine has avoided a prison sentence after being found guilty of contempt of court for publishing an article by the former MI5 officer David Shayler in breach of a gagging injunction. Instead, James Steen could face a fine, depending on a later hearing.

The High Court case, brought by the Attorney General, follows an article this year headlined "MI5 could have stopped the bomb going off" about the performance of the security service before the 1993 bombing in Bishopsgate, in the City of London.

Government lawyers warned Mr Steen that the article would break a 1997 injunction granted against Mr Shayler and a newspaper, banning publication of material obtained by him as a member of the security service. Mr Justice Silber said the case was concerned with the right of a public authority to protect its interests in information of which it claimed ownership.

Mr Steen and the publishers were granted leave to appeal.