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Lawyer found guilty of criminal contempt of court, fined £7k for disclosing result of Supreme Court appeal prior to judgment being handed down

The Supreme Court has fined an environmental lawyer £5,000 after finding him in criminal contempt of court for deliberately disclosing the result of an appeal prior to hand down of the judgment.

The proceedings against Tim Crosland were brought by the Attorney General, Michael Ellis QC, and heard yesterday (10 May) by a panel of Supreme Court judges made up of Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Hamblen and Lord Stephens.

Mr Crosland had acted for Plan B in the case heard at the UK Supreme Court about Heathrow's third runway.

It was alleged that, in breach of confidentiality and of an embargo, he issued a statement to the news wire Press Association, disclosing the Supreme Court's decision.

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Mr Crosland was found in criminal contempt of court for deliberately disclosing the result. A full judgment will follow in due course.

Plan B, of which Mr Crosland is a director, said he had been given permission appeal (back to the Supreme Court).

Asked before the hearing by the BBC why he broke the rules on disclosure of judgments, Mr Crosland said: “Because I think it’s really important for the rule of law and really important for our democracy that the truth comes out.

“That story is about the Government’s suppression of evidence of the real risks of Heathrow expansion.

“So if you do something that would ordinarily be a breach of the law but the purpose of that is to prevent a much greater harm, and in this case to prevent the public being misled about the dangers of Heathrow expansion, then according to the law, that is not a crime.”

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