by holdthefrontpage staff

A regional press reporter had a page of her notebook confiscated while covering a trial at her local crown court.

Nadia Gilani, from the Enfield Gazette, was taking notes after a Section 39 order under the Children and Young Person's Act had been imposed.

She was three-quarters down her page of shorthand notes at Wood Green Crown Court when an usher demanded she hand over the notes.

Trainee Nadia said: "She said that I wasn't allowed to take any notes due to the reporting restriction and could I tear the page out please.

"She even had the audacity to ask me if I knew what an Section 39 was.

"I understand that courts don't tend to like journalists but she was wrong so I told her that.

"I was well within my rights to report on the case - as long as I didn't breach the Section 39 order.

"She confiscated the page, plonked herself on a bench nearby and copied out my shorthand while I looked on agog."

As the usher passed a note to the clerk, Nadia did the same.

As Nadia approached the clerk, he handed her a note that read: "Take notes but no publicity".

And with no time to argue, she returned to her seat and got back to doing her job.

Editor Gary O'Keeffe said: "To say I am disgusted is an understatement - the ignorance of the usher is outstanding and the clerk should have known better.

"I have stood up to armed coppers and refused to hand over my notebook so what Nadia was doing giving up hers in a courtroom is beyond my comprehension.

"I have advised her on procedure - and all my reporters - and don't think it will happen again."

A Courts Service spokesman said: "The reporter, Ms Gilani, could be overheard talking to other reporters in the public area.

"Mindful of the fact that it was a sensitive case, the clerk asked the usher to go over to the reporter to ask her to lower her voice and check whether she was aware that the trial was subject to reporting restrictions.

"The usher asked for Ms Gilani’s notebook, which she then passed to the clerk together with a note.

"Neither of our staff wanted to copy the notes or did so. Ms Gilani's note of the proceedings was in shorthand so they would not have been able to read it.

"The clerk wrote a message back to the usher telling her that the reporter could make notes but could not report any details relating to the case. Ms Gilani's notebook was then returned to her.

"Ms Gilani was entitled to take notes of the proceedings and the usher should not have asked for her notebook. The court would like to apologise for the error."