Henry Hendron’s “ringside” coverage of the Nigel Evans trial lands him in hot water.
Strand Chambers’ Henry Hendron has committed a “a very serious contempt of court” while blogging about the sexual assault trial of Nigel Evans, which saw the Tory MP acquitted of all charges yesterday.
Hendron attended the trial as a friend of Evans and wrote “daily coverage” from a “ringside view from within the court house”. But his musings “startled” alleged victims as they prepared to give “extremely personal evidence on potentially embarrassing matters,” said Evans’ own lawyer, Peter Wright QC. He added that Hendron’s comments were “irresponsible and jeopardised the trial process.”
The judge in the case has reported Hendron to Attorney General Dominic Grieve, saying: “This is a prima facie contempt of court and it could influence jurors too. This is a very serious contempt.” It has since been confirmed that the A-G won’t be issuing proceedings.
Hendron has now deleted the blog posts in question. In court yesterday he apologised and told the judge that he had referred himself to the Bar Standards Board (BSB):
“I’m deeply, deeply sorry for a huge misjudgement, it was not intended to cause harm. I am not a criminal barrister, I am a civil barrister. I put a blog online with the full intention of commenting in an upbeat manner for my friend Nigel Evans and it was not designed to cause any difficulty.
“Some of Oscar Pistorius’s friends had done something similar. As soon as it was drawn to my attention by Mr Wright as a possible contempt I took it down straight away. I didn’t put my mind to it, I’m sorry it has wasted the court’s time, I have self-referred myself to the Bar Standards because I recognise it is a serious situation brought about by my lapse of judgement.”
In the meantime, Hendron may consider brushing up on courtroom rules and etiquette by consulting this YouTube video that he created in 2012 to help novices with procedure at trial.