Why police have not named latest suspect

The Daily Mail have published this explanation on their website, I have highlighted the most humorous, hypocritical pieces:

Police today took the unusual step of refusing to reveal the name of a suspect in Jo Yeates’s murder investigation.

It is common practise for people to be named on arrest but the investigating team have refused to do so following controversial media coverage of a previous arrest.

When Jo Yeates’s neighbour Chris Jefferies, 65, was arrested, police felt the ensuing media coverage overstepped the bounds of what is legally acceptable.

There are strict rules on what media outlets can and cannot report under the Contempt of Court Act, which seeks to ensure a fair trial in any subsequent court proceedings.

Following Mr Jefferies’s release without charge the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, warned newspaper editors about the dangers of publishing ‘irrelevant or improper material’.

The government’s senior law officer stressed that there was ‘freedom of the press’, but said newspapers had to comply with the Contempt of Court Act.

‘We need to avoid a situation where trials cannot take place or are prejudiced as a result of irrelevant or improper material being published, whether in print form or on the internet, in such a way that a trial becomes impossible,’ Mr Grieve said.

‘I don’t want to comment on the precise coverage, but I think it’s important to understand that the contempt of court rules are there to protect the rule of law and the fair trial process and they require newspapers, and indeed anyone who is covering material, to do that in a way that doesn’t prejudice the possibility of a fair trial taking place at a later date.’

The Attorney General added that newspapers were ‘pretty familiar’ with the contempt of court rules and asked them to make responsible judgement calls.

‘I would simply ask them to reflect carefully on how they provide proper coverage on a matter of public importance while at the same time, mindful of how our legal system works, they can also ensure that a trial process – if one were ever to happen – would not be prejudiced by material being published that may be irrelevant to any case that comes before the court but could be seriously prejudicial to an individual who is standing trial.’

However, while more traditional media outlets have obeyed the letter of the law on this latest arrest, within hours of the arrest the internet was awash with rumours of a suspect’s identity, including micro-blogging site Twitter.

Mr Jefferies is now said to be considering suing police for wrongful arrest after his reputation was arguably damaged by press coverage.

Police are keen to avoid the same happening with any current or future suspect, hence their warnings to the press.

As part of the statement released to confirm the arrest this morning, police gave a firm instruction to media outlets covering the case.

It read: ‘Proceedings are active and everyone is reminded of the Contempt of Court Act and therefore you will understand that we cannot discuss any more details at this stage.’

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