Thursday, January 20, 2011

DEWANI laying down more conditions, this time it is TWITTER...

Honeymoon murder: Shrien Dewani's lawyer tries to stop Twitter being used in court

A lawyer representing Shrien Dewani has tried to stop reporters using Twitter in court, saying it could ''undermine the solemnity'' of proceedings.

Honeymoon murder: Shrien Dewani's lawyer tries to stop Twitter being used in court
Shrien Dewani, who is suffering from 'acute stress', was not in court for the hearing Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Julian Knowles made the submission at an extradition hearing for Mr Dewani, the British businessman accused of ordering the murder of his wife while on honeymoon in South Africa.
But Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle, sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court, rejected his arguments and allowed tweeting on the provision that it was accurate and unobtrusive.
At the start of the hearing, the judge said the media had asked for permission to tweet.
Mr Knowles, representing Mr Dewani, said: ''I know the media get very excited about Facebook and Twitter but there have been all sorts of leaks (in this case) and I think the time has come to put a stop to it.''
He said Twitter was feeding the leaks and ''it does undermine the solemnity'' of the proceedings.
The judge said he did not believe this was the case, adding: ''On the face of it it can increase accuracy.''

In a light-hearted exchange, Mr Knowles replied: ''In 140 characters?''

However, the judge continued: ''In accordance with the Lord Chief Justice's direction I propose to admit it, providing it is unobtrusive, doesn't interrupt proceedings and is accurate.''

Last month, Lord Judge, the country's top judge, said Twitter could be used in court if users first sought permission.

He said decisions over the use of the micro-blogging website would be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the risk of interference to the ''proper administration of justice''.

On Wednesday, MPs were handed a reprieve when they were given the green light to continue using Twitter in the Commons.