Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to contempt of court – Madigan

-   Fine Gael Press Office

A Fine Gael TD has said that her new Bill aimed at tackling social media influencing court proceedings is ready to be introduced before the Dáil when it resumes in September.

Dublin Rathdown TD, Josepha Madigan said: “I have been working on my contempt of court Bill over the summer recess and I hope to bring it before the Dáil next month.

“I believe that this Bill will be very important as it aims to give the courts power to safeguard the trial process.

“The Contempt of Court Bill (2017) will give the judges the power to make orders preventing future contempt of court rather than punishing contempt which has already happened.

“The purpose of a trial is to allow the accused to be judged fairly by a jury of their peers. It is important that we don’t allow, agenda-laden misinformation interfere with this process.

“We live in an age where, thanks to social media, ideas and information can be disseminated very quickly. This has obvious implications when it comes to the trial process.

“Print and broadcast media adhere to a strict code when it comes comes to reporting legal proceedings; these safeguards were in place to protect the trial process from external forces seeking to exert undue influence over the outcome.

“My Bill will aim to extend these safeguards to social media. The right to a fair trial is something we are all entitled to, it is fundamental to our democracy.

“Courts have to keep up with ever changing modern technology and need new powers to be flexible which is why I hope this Bill, once introduced, moves swiftly through the Oireachtas and into law,” the Dublin Rathdown TD concluded.

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