Despite the fact that two former BNP members were caught with a “record haul” of chemical explosives, some rocket launchers and nuclear/biological suits, most of the media is curiously still treating it as a non-story.
So far: 24 Dash, BBC, ITV, Channel 4. But they are all only a few lines long, and seemed to be derived from a wire-story sent out by PA this morning:
A former British National Party election candidate and a dentist both appeared in court today accused of possessing an explosive substance.
Robert Cottage, 49, of Talbot Street, Colne, Lancashire, and David Jackson, 62, of Trent Road, Nelson, Lancashire, were charged under the Explosive Substances Act 1883 after chemical components were allegedly found at Cottage’s house.
Cottage stood for the BNP in this year’s local elections in Colne. Both men were remanded in custody at Preston Crown Court. No application for bail was made for either men. The case was adjourned until January 15, 2007 for a plea and case management hearing.
A provisional trial date has been set for February 12 at Manchester Crown Court. It will be held before a High Court judge and is expected to last one and a half weeks.
I have also been told by a journalist that the police are placing severe media restrictions on the story for some reason.
My contact has clarified, as Katy and NotSaussure others have below, that standard reporting restrictions now apply to this case given the men have been charged and now await trial. The media can only report or broadcast:
(a) the identity of the court and the names of the examining justices
(b) the names, addresses and occupations of the parties and witnesses and ages of the accused and witnesses
(c) the offence(s) or a summary of them with which the accused is charged
(d) the names of the legal representatives engaged in the proceedings
(e) any decision of the court to commit the accused or any of them for trial and any decision of the court on disposal of the case of any of the accused not committed
(f) the charge(s) on which the accused, or any of them have been committed and the court to
which they have been committed
(g) the date and place to which committal proceedings have been adjourned, if adjourned
(h) any arrangements as to bail on committal or adjournment
(i) whether legal aid was granted (or, when the Access to Justice Act 1999 is in force, whether a right to representation funded by the Legal Services Commission as part of the Criminal Defence service was granted to the accused or any of the accused)..
I was further told that: “The whole problems comes from the police sitting on the story at the time of the raid.”
So the question then arises; if this is not a major story why is the police placing such heavy media reporting restrictions on it? Also worth reading is BBC Newswatch’s response below.
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Filed in: The BNP