Why the New Yorker article on Lucy Letby is banned in the UK

A 13,000-word article published by the New Yorker is one of the most hotly debated pieces of journalism right now and yet, people can’t even read it.

The long read by Rachel Aviv examines “serious questions about the evidence” in the trial of Lucy Letby who, last August, was named as Britain’s most prolific child serial killer.

Letby, 34, a former neonatal nurse is serving 14 whole-life sentences for the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others.

For her investigation, titled ‘A British Nurse Was Found Guilty of Killing Seven Babies. Did She Do It?,’ Aviv said she drew from “more than seven thousand pages of court transcripts, which included police interviews and text messages, and from internal hospital records that were leaked to me.”

However, despite the huge interest surrounding the reporter’s findings, we are not able to read her New Yorker story. This is because of a court order which blocks access to the article in the UK.

The court order bans the reporting of new material relating to the case and was implemented to prevent the publication of anything that may prejudice a jury.

This is because Letby is due to face a retrial for one count of murder next month.

why the new yorker article on lucy letby is banned in the uk

From left: A police mugshot of Letby; a screengrab of the New Yorker article; an error message displayed to anyone attempting to read it in the UK ((PA/The New Yorker))

Broadcast journalist Sophia Stanford explained the reasoning in a video posted to X/Twitter.

In the clip, she pointed out that, in the UK, we have laws which protect the reporting of certain cases, to avoid what is known as contempt of court.

“There are lots of details that you can't share through the media, but sometimes judges can add even more court orders that restrict reporting of certain details and sometimes the reporting of the case entirely,” she said.

“This is done so that everyone is entitled to a free and fair trial and a jury won't be swayed by what the media say.”

Stanford also noted that, because Letby is facing a retrial in June over the alleged attempted murder of a baby girl, her case is still active.

This means that any new information published could risk prejudicing the jury.

“Imagine if you had read this article or knew someone who had,” she said of the New Yorker piece. “You’d probably already have a pretty strong idea about whether you think Lucy Letby did or didn't kill these babies.

“That would get in the way of finding the truth, which is the job of the court.

Still, if you’re confused as to why it was allowed to be published in the first place, it's because the US has its own media laws, it doesn’t adhere to ours.

Nevertheless, plenty of Brits argue that these laws should be changed and that they stand “in defiance of open justice.”

The latter assessment was made by former Tory minister Sir David Davis in the Commons on Tuesday (14 May), who called on the government to review the court order blocking UK access to Aviv’s investigation.

The Haltemprice and Howden MP told the Commons: “Yesterday the New Yorker magazine published a 13,000-word inquiry into the Lucy Letby trial.

“That article was blocked from publication on the UK internet, I understand because of a court order. Now, I’m sure that court order was well intended but it seems to me in defiance of open justice.

“Will the Lord Chancellor look into this matter and report back to the House?”

why the new yorker article on lucy letby is banned in the uk

Sir David Davis addressing the House of Commons on the contentious court order ((PArtliamentlive.tv))

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk replied: “Court orders must be obeyed and court orders can be displaced by someone applying to court for them to be removed. So that will need to take place in the normal course of events.

“I will just simply make a point on the Lucy Letby case – that jury’s verdict must be respected. If there are grounds for an appeal, that should take place in the normal way.”

In August last year, Letby was convicted of the murders which took place at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit, where she worked as a nurse, between June 2015 and June 2016.

The 34-year-old has submitted a bid to challenge her convictions at the Court of Appeal.

If judges decline to give the go-ahead for the challenge, it will mark the end of the appeal process for Letby.

The jury in Letby’s trial at Manchester Crown Court was unable to reach verdicts on six counts of attempted murder in relation to five children.

She will face a retrial at the same court in June on a single count that she attempted to murder a baby girl, known as Child K, in February 2016.

A court order also prohibits reporting of the identities of the surviving and dead children who were the subject of the allegations.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Have your say in our news democracy. Join the conversation about this article in the Comments./em>

OTHER NEWS

11 hrs ago

Forget Steven Spielberg, George Lucas’ First Cut of Star Wars Was So Bad Even the Movie’s Editor Couldn’t Understand the Story

11 hrs ago

Rolling blackouts as Russian attacks erode Ukraine's energy capacity

11 hrs ago

Sky Sports: Leeds make approach to sign "quality" new 54,000-a-week player

11 hrs ago

Russian MiG-35: How Fighter Jet Compares To Ukraine's Incoming F-16s

11 hrs ago

Kate Middleton issues first major update on farmer project since cancer diagnosis

11 hrs ago

Australians skipping doctor’s appointments, heating amid housing crisis

11 hrs ago

13 best umbrellas for facing the unpredictable British weather

11 hrs ago

M&S in ‘best financial health since 1997’ as sales and profits soar

11 hrs ago

Watch live outside Downing Street as Sunak set to make general election announcement

11 hrs ago

How extreme heat will disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities

11 hrs ago

Bosnian Serb leader reiterates threat to secede from Bosnia ahead of UN vote on genocide

11 hrs ago

U.S. existing home sales drop 1.9% in April, pushed lower by high rates and high prices

11 hrs ago

Utah woman describes 'terror' at seeing stepson detained and beaten after DRC coup attempt

11 hrs ago

Parents protest outside another HISD school over principals, teachers reportedly being forced out

11 hrs ago

HPD: Suspect in custody after running from officer who shot at him in southwest Houston

11 hrs ago

Indonesia mulls ban on investigative journalism, LGBTQ content

11 hrs ago

Big-winning Lotto Max tickets sold in Ontario, but jackpot remains unclaimed

11 hrs ago

Progressive Conservatives easily retain Pictou West in Nova Scotia byelection

11 hrs ago

ANALYSIS: Solving roster issues on blue line is key for Jets in off-season

11 hrs ago

Promotions and raises are going to be harder to get in 2024—here's why

11 hrs ago

A newspaper near Ukraine's border with Russia watches for freed POWs

11 hrs ago

Rishi Sunak calls Cabinet to urgent meeting at 4.15pm amid warnings he 'could trigger a General Election TONIGHT': Cameron and ministers cut short trips and Chancellor cancels TV appearance as rumours of a July 4 poll grip Westminster

11 hrs ago

Video of man harshly ordering wife to fetch fermented milk resurfaces, sparking outrage.

11 hrs ago

Woman says builder's two-word reply to reasonable request started 'blazing row'

11 hrs ago

The shocking moment college golfers watch airport staff THROW their clubs off Delta plane on to the floor

11 hrs ago

Woman, 28, is left paralyzed after a huge grand PIANO fell on her and severed her spine as she helped move it for a friend

11 hrs ago

Top progressive member's sister LOSES primary in Oregon despite The Squad's backing: Alarm bells for far-left candidates across the country in key takeaways from primaries

11 hrs ago

New Derek Chauvin accuser claims killer cop performed same 'signature pose' on her that he later used to murder George Floyd - as her horrific injuries are revealed

11 hrs ago

Auburn: Man dies and a 32-year-old is taken into custody after confrontation in Sydney's west

11 hrs ago

Tottenham player ratings vs Newcastle: James Maddison impresses as Alfie Devine and Tyrese Hall stake a claim

11 hrs ago

Giovanni Pernice's Plan B - embattled dancer launches back up career amid Strictly training row

11 hrs ago

Phillip Schofield takes his puppy Alfie for a walk after making a 'tepid' return to the limelight as he ventured back to Instagram following year-long hiatus

11 hrs ago

Gold prices in Qatar Today Wednesday, May 22, 2024

11 hrs ago

‘Extreme Turbulence’ on Singapore Airlines Flight Kills 1 and Injures Dozens

11 hrs ago

'I saw people across the aisle going completely horizontal': Passengers recall extreme turbulence

11 hrs ago

RFK Jr. says he invested $24K in GameStop after meme stock rally: ‘Apes together strong’

11 hrs ago

Fatal mistake: Russians leave tank hatch open and enemy storms in

11 hrs ago

Options market sees 12% move in Nvidia after this 'unusually important' earnings report, says Goldman

11 hrs ago

BBC Breakfast host Jon Kay takes swipe at Jeremy Hunt in 'car crash' interview

11 hrs ago

Home sales slipped unexpectedly in April, despite big gains in supply

Kênh khám phá trải nghiệm của giới trẻ, thế giới du lịch