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Report No. 200

Irish Law Reform Commission: on balancing the righs:

In Ireland, the Law Reforms Commission (Report 47, 1994 para 6.4) stated that press, radio and television had a powerful effect on the people and if it is not subjected to reasonable safeguards, there could be potentially serious effects for the proper administration of justice and may result in long imprisonment of innocent people.

In contrast, the public interest in the free flow of information is by no means wholly interrupted by a careful observance of the sub judice rule, since, at worst, the inhibition of unrestricted comment and publication of allegedly relevant facts is of a temporary nature only. It rejected the argument that the sub judice rule offends against the guarantee of freedom of expression (Art 40.6.1). Juries could be affected by prejudicial publications affecting fairness in adjudication and other alternatives would not be sufficient. Thus all these Law Reforms Commissions in NSW, Australia, Canada and Ireland supported the sub judice rule and observed that for that purpose freedom of speech could be restricted.

Trial by Media free speech and fair trial under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Back

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