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Magazine charged over Stephen Lawrence article

CONTROVERSY: Magazine charged over Stephen Lawrence [PICTURED] article

A UK-based magazine is to be prosecuted over an article written during the trial of Stephen Lawrence's killers.

The Spectator were found guilty of breaching a court order which banned reports that could influence the jury's views after they published an article, which claimed the two defendants would not be granted a fair trial.

The chief prosecutor for London at the Crown Prosecution Service, Alison Saunders, reportedly said they informed the magazine's publishers that they would be charged with breaking the reporting restrictions, under Section 83 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

In the controversial feature, writer Rod Liddle, reportedly claimed that Gary Dobson and David Norris had already been presented as 'violent racists' in the public eye.

He then went on to argue that any judge who took action against him for saying so was 'singularly perverse'.

Shortly after the story was published, the trial's judge, Mr Justice Treacy, referred the matter to the attorney general for possible contempt of court and banned the jury from reading the article.

Speaking on the case, Saunders told the BBC: "This Order was imposed by the Court of Appeal on 18 May 2011 and was continued at the commencement of the trial on 14 November 2011."

She added: "Having applied the full code test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors I have taken the decision that there is a realistic prospect of conviction. The Attorney General has determined that it is in the public interest to proceed and he has given his consent to this prosecution."

The publication, which pleads no contest to the charge, now faces fines of up to £5,000.

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