01/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 21:00

Peter Hain faces contempt of court charge over book

Category: Northern Ireland

Published: 27th Mar 2012 14:58:21

Former Labour Cabinet minister Peter Hain is facing contempt of court proceedings over forthright criticisms he made of a judge in his memoir.

John Larkin, Attorney General for Northern Ireland, granted leave to prosecute both Mr Hain and Biteback Publishing.

It is claimed a passage in the book "undermines the administration of justice".

The ex-Northern Ireland secretary said he would defend free speech.

The publisher claimed the case was based on an "obsolete" law banning criticism of judges.

It claimed the legislation had not been used in living memory.

Mr Hain's remarks about Lord Justice Girvan's handling of a case caused controversy in Belfast when the book was published.

Mr Hain, now shadow Welsh secretary, said: "I am astonished at this turn of events. I worked harder than anyone as secretary of state for Northern Ireland to uphold the rule of law and judicial independence, and delivered the 2007 settlement which helped secure that.

"If free speech and comment in a political memoir is to be suppressed, then people will be entitled to ask: what system of justice prevails?"

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan described his remarks as "potentially an assault on the wider independence of the judiciary".

Mr Hain refused to back down and renewed his criticism, sparking the legal action by Mr Larkin.

The contempt action was granted last week by Lord Justice Higgins and is listed for review by the Divisional Court in Belfast on 24 April, the publisher said in a statement.

The Attorney General's court submission said the remarks concerned the appointment of Bertha MacDougall as interim victims commissioner.

It claimed they constituted an "unwarranted abuse of a judge in his judicial capacity that undermines the administration of justice in this jurisdiction, and consequently constitute a contempt of court".

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Peter Hain faces contempt of court charge over book [Online] (Updated 27th Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1418997/Peter-Hain-faces-contempt-of-court-charge-over-book [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Release of three Americans in N Korea a 'top priority'

    The White House has said securing the release of three American citizens detained in North Korea is a "top priority" and it's doing all it can.
  • Boris Island airport plan 'to be rejected'

    A plan for an island airport in the Thames estuary will be rejected, the BBC understands.
  • 'Cloud' concerns after celebrity picture leaks

    Experts have raised concerns over the security of "cloud" storage sites following the leak of intimate pictures of celebrities.
  • Game of Thrones swordsman joins Star Wars film

    Actor Miltos Yerolemou, best known for his role in the first series of fantasy drama Game of Thrones, has joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Policeman to go on trial over six euro theft

    An Irish police officer is due to go on trial in December charged with stealing 6.25 euros (£4.94)