Law Report: Practice guidance on committal cases: DPP v Channel 4 Television Co Ltd; AG v Mantoura (Practice Guidance). Queen's Bench Divisional Court (Lord Justice Woolf and Mr Justice Pill), 31 July 1992

The Queen's Bench Divisional Court was a more appropriate forum than the Crown Court to hear committal proceedings for an alleged contempt consisting of disobedience of an order of the court or an undertaking given in connection with criminal proceedings in the Crown Court.

In a separate statement, handed down afterwards, the Divisional Court gave guidance on questions of jurisdiction and forum raised in two contempt cases in which it had just given judgment.

In the first case the Director of Public Prosecutions had applied for fines or writs of sequestration against Channel 4 and Box Productions Ltd for breach of an order by Judge Clarkson QC at Middlesex Crown Court on 31 October 1991, under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989, requiring them to disclose to the police information obtained when making a television documentary (see the Independent, 5 August 1992).

In the second case (on right) the Attorney General had applied for Mr Jack Mantoura to be committed to prison or fined for breaching an undertaking given to Judge Rivlin QC at Southwark Crown Court to pay pounds 25,000 compensation to the victim of a fraud committed by his son.

LORD JUSTICE WOOLF said the Crown Court, under section 45(4) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, had 'the like powers, rights, privileges and authority of the High Court' in relation to contempt.

The High Court's power to make an order on its own motion against a person guilty of contempt was expressly preserved by Order 52, rule 5 of the Rules of the Supreme Court.

However, Order 52, rule 1(2) provided that: 'Where contempt of court (a) is committed in connection with . . . (ii) criminal proceedings, except where the contempt was committed in the face of the court or consisted of disobedience to an order of the court or breach of an undertaking to the court . . . then an order of committal may be made only by a Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division.'

It was accepted that since both these applications fell within the exception to Order 52, rule 1(2)(a)(ii), they were not ones where a committal order could be made only by a Divisional Court. Both the Crown Court and Divisional Court had jurisdiction to deal with them. The problem was which was the appropriate forum.

In his Lordship's judgment, the Channel 4 case exemplified the type of application which should invariably be heard by the Divisional Court.

The Mantoura case, although less sensitive, was on its facts also well suited to disposal by the Divisional Court.

If, however, an application was dealt with in the Crown Court, it was important to recognise the need for justice to be seen to be done.

The judge should not appear to be a prosecutor acting in his own cause.

A judge should only act of his own motion if: (a) the contempt was clear; (b) it affected a trial in progress or about to start; (c) it was urgent and imperative to act at once to prevent justice being obstructed or undermined and to preserve the integrity of the trial; and (d) no other procedure would meet the ends of justice.

However, where a contempt occurred in the Crown Court, the judge need not appear in the position of prosecutor: an application could be made by the DPP through the CPS, or by another Crown Court judge.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering