The Crown is planning to ask for a publishing ban to be lifted on a series of articles written about the disappearance of Jared Scott McLellan, the man accused of murdering the toddler.
A spokesman for the Crown said on Sunday that, at its hearings with lawyers for the Guardian and other media this week, prosecutors wanted to know whether the January conviction of Rhys Denvir was not a valid basis for them to question and discuss the article and the trial, according to legal sources.
The defence accepted that Denvir was not a valid basis and had objected to the articles in any case.
The Guardian, the BBC, the Times, the Independent, and the Sunday Times, filed an appeal against the conviction, which was overturned last week and that appeal is due to be heard on Monday.
Press Regulation: why did the judge in the Jared Scott case just issue a bail ruling? Read more
After his release on bail, Denvir, 27, told the Guardian that he believed the prosecution was wrongly targeting him. He said that instead of thinking about his past, he was thinking about the future.
The prosecution does not argue that those articles are likely to prejudice his case in court or undermine the case he is facing for the murder of Jared, who disappeared from his father’s Bury St Edmunds home in November 2015. But the prosecution does argue that Denvir was seeking to undermine the credibility of the court and his trial when he said: “I’ve got nothing to hide, I’m innocent”.
When he was sentenced in January, Denvir was jailed for three years but described his victim as an innocent bystander who “wanted nothing more than to play on his iPad”.
Judges will hear a defence submission to suppress the articles in a change-of-plea hearing in court on Monday.
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice on a 23 July appeal to suppress the articles – on the grounds that it was a breach of a free speech rule because they relied on victim impact evidence.
Jared’s parents Jared and Natasha McLellan (above) are appealing against his conviction
The judges said they were taking the appeal notice because the original cases concluded unanimously on 22 July. They said the notices did not contain judgments, contrary to the jury’s instructions, and that the reasons for the appeal were not germane to the application for a disclosure order.
In a submission published on Sunday, the Crown said it has no objection to publication of evidence of Nigel Sheppard, the postmortem expert, and David Moon, the Crown Prosecution Service’s consultant pathologist, who took no part in the investigation, but believe their disclosure may prejudice the trial on the basis that they have made comments that are not to the defence’s benefit.
In a statement to the Guardian, McClelland said: “We have been awaiting a fresh hearing date from the High Court and did not consider the defence’s notice of appeal to be relevant until now, for reasons which we would not go into now. However, we now intend to apply to the court to lift the reporting restrictions and not allow further damage to be done to both the defence and the case.”
At the trial of Denvir, a jury found the father of Jared guilty of murdering him and left the jury with the option of convicting Jared’s father of murder as well. It took the jury three hours to unanimously convict his father.