Coroner warns Di inquest critics of contempt of court

February 22nd, 2008 - 5:05 pm ICT by admin  

Princess Diana

London, Feb 22 (ANI): The judge presiding at the British inquests into the death of Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Al Fayed has cautioned critics of the proceeding that they might be found in contempt of court.

Lord Justice Scott Baker has urged British parliamentarians and other high-profile critics not to say, write or publish anything that influences the jury.

Anyone doing so could be held in contempt of court, he warned, reports the Telegraph.

Lord Justice Scott Baker issued the warning after many MPs and parliamentarians panned the inquest as a fruitless exercise and a waste of time and money.

However, Scott Baker told the hearing: These inquests which are an inquiry into two deaths and are being heard by a jury.

They will continue to be heard by a jury on evidence they hear in this court and nothing else. Comments made outside this court, often about a limited aspect of the evidence, may tender the maker or publisher liable to contempt of court.

I again urge great care that nothing is said, written or published that may influence the jury, he added.

The coroner has been flooded with demands from senior British parliamentarians to bring the proceedings to a close.

Members of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which oversees the work of the intelligence agencies, called on the coroner
after it was revealed that 10 serving members of MI6 had been asked to give evidence.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, the Labour former minister and a member of the ISC, requested Justice Scott Baker to adjourn the investigation.

“I think it’s a total waste of time and money. The extraordinary performance of Fayed has turned the whole thing into a circus,” Lord Foulkes said.

“I think the coroner should now seriously consider stopping the inquest, he added.

Denis MacShane, a former Foreign Office minister, accused Fayed and his legal team of taking the claims too far.

Fayed and his legal team are going too far. To put servants of the country, whose identities should be protected, into this farcical proceeding is actually threatening their individual security, he said.

This is not only a farce, it is a contemptible abuse of British law and a scandalous waste of public money, he added. (ANI)

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