Judge holds six-day drugs trial in secret

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The Independent Online
A JUDGE has taken the unusual step of holding a six-day drugs trial in secret in order to 'protect someone', it emerged yesterday. Lawyers said afterwards that although evidence was often given in camera, it was 'extremely rare' for a complete case to be heard behind closed doors.

Court reporters barred from hearing the case have appealed against Judge Roderick Adams' decision at Inner London Crown Court. The only part of the trial open to the public was the announcement yesterday that Mehmet Gezer, a 47-year-old electrician, had been sentenced to to one year in jail for possessing hard drugs with intent to supply.

Judge Adams said there were mitigating circumstances which had led him to reduce the prison term 'considerably'. However, it is not known what these circumstances are. Last night, lawyers said Gezer, who had been found in possession of an ounce of heroin in November 1991, had been given a lenient sentence.

The trial was heard in a court annex last month, when the judge agreed to a defence request that proceedings should be held in camera. Reporters discovered the case during a routine check and applied for the sentence hearing, which was held yesterday, to be in open court. Judge Adams refused, saying that the session was closed 'to protect someone'. According to legal textbooks, the public should only be barred in exceptional circumstances.

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