Gagging order lifted by magistrates

MAGISTRATES have lifted a gagging order that stopped a heroin user being named in the press earlier this month - after receiving up to date legal advice.

That means that 35-year-old Shane Witt can now be identified as the man caught taking heroin in public toilets near Ely Cathedral.

Earlier this month magistrates were persuaded to ban his identification in the press, after hearing that Witt had been stabbed during a vicious attack and was in fear for his life.

That order was imposed despite protestations from members of the local press, and this week the court was told that the order should never have been made and should be lifted immediately.

Magistrates were told that recent case law made such a restriction untenable.

“The restriction is a nulity and should not continue, it should not have been made in the first place,” said the court’s legal advisor.

Lifting the order, presiding magistrate Dr Christine Shaw said: “We are obviously reluctant to do something that might place Mr Witt in danger. But we have been advised that the press restriction should not have been applied in the first place; at the time we were not fully advised of the law, and with great reluctance we lift the press restriction.”

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AT the earlier court hearing, Witt, of Tennyson Place, Ely, had admitted possessing 0.2 grams of heroin. He was fined �80 with a �15 surcharge, and the drugs were forfeited.