Live proceedings

The reporting restrictions on criminal cases in Scots Law are very precise and very strict.

From the moment a warrant issued or an arrest is made then ‘Live Proceedings’ are in place until the matter is disposed of.

A disposal can be that the Procurator Fiscal decides that there will no further action or there is an eventual verdict in court.

Essentially there has to be an outcome to the proceedings and until that happens then the proceedings are live and the Contempt Court Act 1981 is in force.

This law applies to all members of the public.

However, the penalties for journalists breaching this act are particularly clear because we are expected to know better.

This is especially true when the proceedings are Solemn rather than Summary.

The former involves a jury and it is important that the people selected to judge on the facts are not swayed by anything out with the courtroom.

The latter only involves a Sheriff and it is assumed that a member of the judiciary is less likely to be distracted or influenced by media coverage.

Subsequently, I will not be writing about these recent events involving the police investigation into acquisition of Rangers Football Club by Mr Craig Whyte in 2011 or moderating any comments regarding these proceedings.

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