Judge issues warning as Amanda Staveley gives evidence in High Court

A High Court judge overseeing a trial featuring a businesswoman and Barclays which is being broadcast online because of the coronavirus crisis has warned viewers not to take screenshots.

Amanda Staveley.
Amanda Staveley.

Mr Justice Waksman, who is hearing evidence in a £1.6billion battle involving Amanda Staveley and Barclays at the High Court in London, issued a warning after lawyers told him a screenshot of the hearing had been tweeted by someone watching proceedings online.

He said taking photographs of court hearings is an offence and the same rules apply to hearings being broadcast online because of the health crisis.

Ms Staveley – who has brokered a takeover of Newcastle United – says her private equity firm, PCP Capital Partners, was not treated fairly and is owed money for work it did setting up a Middle East investment deal with Barclays during the global financial crisis in 2008.

PCP is suing the bank and wants £1.6billion damages. Barclays disputes PCP’s claim and says the claim is made of “sand”.

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The trial, which began on Monday, is expected to last two months.

Limited numbers of people have been allowed to gather in court because of social distancing rules, and the trial is being shown on a webcast.

Mr Justice Waksman reminded viewers that a warning had been posted online and was visible to viewers.

“By viewing the webcast you accept the privacy policy and agree not to take any unauthorised recording or screenshot of the trial,” says the warning.

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“It is a criminal offence to record, publish and take pictures of any court hearing without authorisation, including making, or attempting to make, an unauthorised recording or transmission of an image or sound being transmitted through a live video or audio link.”

Legislation which is nearly 100 years old bans the taking of photographs in court hearings.

The 1925 Criminal Justice Act says “no person” shall “take or attempt to take in any court any photograph, or with a view to publication make or attempt to make in any court any portrait or sketch, of any person”.

Senior judges have ruled that the taking of photographs in court can also be a contempt of court.