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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 09:57 GMT
Media warned over crime reporting
Ipswich murder victims
There was concern over reporting of the Ipswich murders
The media must "exercise restraint" in its coverage of criminal cases, the new chairman of the Bar Council has said.

However Geoffrey Vos QC said current laws were adequate, following concerns over the reporting of the murders of five women in the Ipswich area.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith will review reports for material that could prejudice a future trial in the case.

Mr Vos said coverage of the story was "perhaps unprecedented" and reporting should properly meet the situation.

Lord Goldsmith has urged editors to show restraint in reporting of the Ipswich murders, a call which has been echoed by Suffolk chief constable Alastair McWhirter.

The law is not saying that the press cannot publicise events of public interest
Geoffrey Vos
Bar Council chairman

Mr Vos told BBC News: "I think the practice is probably pretty well in line with the law at the moment.

"The problem with the Ipswich murders was that the press reporting was absolutely monumental - huge, perhaps unprecedented."

Prejudice to trial

Mr Vos said the attorney general had issued "some kind of orange card" with his warning to the media.

"In my view, the law is probably quite adequate," said Mr Vos.

"It's a question of the press exercising some kind of restraint and in showing that its publicity properly meets the situation.

"The law is not saying that the press cannot publicise events of public interest. In fact, they should do so.

"The law is simply saying that the press mustn't do anything that creates substantial risk of serious prejudice to the fair trial of a defendant in the future."

Former truck driver Steve Wright, 48, of Ipswich, will appear at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday accused of murdering the five women, who worked as prostitutes.


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