ge of its duties, is guilty of contempt…”1 The test as to what constitutes contempt of court was enunciated by Lord Russell in the English case of R v Gray: ‘Any act done or writing published calculated to bring a court or a judge of the court into contempt, or to lower his authority, is a contempt of court.’2 In every court proceeding, what every litigant is in search of is a good judgment and in most court proceedings involving trial by jury, having a good, reasonable and unbiased jury is the key to that.
Taking a view from the Attorney General’s speech, it is true that the law of contempt was meant to arrive at a middle ground between competing interests. There are so many opposing interests to every trial. The law of contempt has at least three fundamental objects – providing a fair trial, ensuring compliance with the court’s orders and generally protecting the administration of justice. If these competing interests are balanced, it is the only way which requires the court process to be fair and that the community accepts the court’s decisions and obeys their orders. It is the duty of the trial judge always to warn the jury of the likely consequences of which any pre-trial publicity may have on the trial. The jury must always and constantly be cautioned to try the case on the basis of the evidence it hears and not on the basis of anything it reads in the newspapers or heard on radio or television. A question that should be asked at this point is that is this a reasonable position? If this is reasonable, how will the law be successful is protecting the rights of those concerned with a trial from intrusion by the media? How does the law attempt to balance the conflicting interest of all parties to the trial, and in particular, in relation to freedom of speech/freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial? Are the any dangers of a miscarriage of justice with regards to pre-trial publicity?
It should be noted that a lot of jurors have become