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Judge imposes media bans for lawyers' trial

Published:Thursday | June 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM


A High Court judge has imposed restrictions on the media covering the trial of two prominent lawyers on the island, warning reporters that they face jail terms if they breach the order.

Justice Sir James Bruce Robertson, who was brought in from New Zealand specially to hear the case, ruled that the local media cannot even report the charges against Timothy Patrick O'Sullivan, 57, and Gordon William Kerr, 52.

According to the court order, the media can only print "the identity of the parties, the name of the judge.

"If you disobey this order you may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison, be fined or, in the case of a corporate entity, have your assets sequestrated."

The court order noted that "the interest of justice require that there is no publication of facts and matters that might result in a real prejudice to the public interest, particularly fair trial rights".

But publisher and editor-in-chief of the Turks and Caicos SUN newspaper, Hayden Boyce, said he was astounded by the judge's order, adding that he was very concerned about its implications for press freedom in the Turks and Caicos Islands.