Very odd scenes at the coroner’s court at Newport in the Isle of Wight, where VentnorBlog’s Simon Perry was ejected by the coroner’s officer – at first, according to Perry, on the grounds that he had suddenly ceased to be a journalist (VentnorBlog have a fine record of attending meetings and hearings), then as a member of the public on the grounds that the court was full; and finally, “Telling him that someone had offered to step out of the court to make a space for us, he said that would make no difference.
“When we asked [coroner’s officer] Richard Leedham if this had ever happened before, he said he hadn’t heard of such a case.”
Perry is a member of the NUJ and his VentnorBlog is particularly well known for covering the civic affairs on the Isle of Wight. I’d go as far as to say it’s an example of best practice in local blogging.
But his position as a journalist is irrelevant here. The question is why a coroner can be allowed to adopt this attitude towards any member of the public who wishes to attend their court. The more attention this gets, the better.
More at Journalism.co.uk and VentnorBlog.
Good find Paul,
This smells of something much deeper than plain ignorance.
I have heard of members of the public using a breach of the peace being imminent to force ejection of a journalist but never in a coroners court.
It seems the coroner can decide which members of the public can and cannot attend a PUBLIC hearing. This is truly a poor decision and one I hope he is forced to concede. Small town so he thinks he can do as he pleases.
So the question is not HOW can a coroner do this but what will happen to him for doing it and prevent it happening again.
Update – NUJ is supporting VB and Jeremy Dear has written to the Coroner:
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