WikiLeaks court tweets deemed lawful in legal first

Julian Assange may presently be going ‘cold turkey’, the computer obsessive is being denied access to his laptop, phone and internet access during his current incarceration in Wandsworth Prison, but tweeters in court are another matter.

In what is thought to be the first legal sanction of the practice Judge Howard Riddle decreed that reporters ought be allowed to tweet out developments in Assange’s bail hearing, so long as it was “quiet and doesn’t disturb anything.”

It marks a sharp u-turn by the judiciary who’d previously expressed concern that prejudicial tweets may be read by jurors. In theory this could allow tweeters to actively campaign for a preferred outcome.

The Lord Chief Justice is considering sanctions against jurors who breach contempt laws by researching cases on the internet, although it is not clear what penalty would befall those posting the material.

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