‘Dirty bomb’ media ban overturned

The BBC’s in-house litigation team, The Times’s lawyers and Finers Stephens Innocent combined forces to fight against a court order preventing the media covering the story of a ‘dirty bomb’ plotter.

The consortium of the BBC, The Times and Associated Press joined forces to fight the order preventing them from reporting last week’s sentencing hearing in the case of Dhiren Barot, who admitted conspiracy to murder.

In mid-October Barot pleaded guilty to the charges of plotting terrorist attacks in the US and UK, but Mr Justice Butterfield told the media that there was to be no reporting of his sentencing hearing as it could prejudice the trial of co-defendants.

However, the consortium, led by Philip Wheeler of the BBC’s litigation team alongside The Times’s Gill Phillips, instructed Doughty Street Chambers’ Andrew Nicol QC to fight the order. On 27 October the Court of Appeal lifted the ban, allowing widespread coverage of last week’s sentencing hearing.

It was the first time that Finers has acted for Associated Press.

Edmund Lawson QC of Cloth Fair Chambers has been instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service for the prosecution. Southall firm Arani & Co instructed 18 Red Lion Court’s Peter Carter QC and Doughty Street’s Edward Rees QC for three of Barot’s co-defendants. Birnberg Peirce instructed Matrix Chambers’ Daniel Friedman for the remaining three defendants.