‘Mainstream’ media reporting prosecution’s questioning of main prosecution witness, but judge orders ‘no reporting of substance’ of subsequent testimony until later in proceedings
The BBC and others are reporting the repeated allegations of Michelle Merritt today after Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe’s appeal against a widely-misreported conviction on a single count of harassment began at Southwark Crown Court today.
The prosecution quickly completed its ‘direct’ questioning of Ms Merritt, who again claimed that Webbe threatened to distribute naked pictures of her and threatened her with acid. No evidence of the acid threat was presented either to the original magistrate’s court or to the appeal, beyond Merritt’s testimony. Cross-examination began, but the judge has placed restrictions on any reporting of the ‘substance’ of cross-examination responses until later in the proceedings.
Cross-examination should be completed next Wednesday, but there is a risk that the continuation of proceedings will be delayed until mid-June. Ms Webbe denies making any form of harassment or threat.
Webbe suffered a torrent of foul racist abuse as a result of the original case and a British man was arrested late last year for plotting to murder Claudia Webbe on the basis of media reports of the first trial. Of the UK media, only Skwawkbox reported that she was the endangered MP. She was also on the hit-list of the man who went on to murder Tory MP David Amess.
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