Brian Spiro acted for The Spectator over Rod Liddle article
Who? Brian Spiro, 53, financial crime, regulatory and media law partner at City firm BCL Burton Copeland.
Why is he in the news? Acted for The Spectator over an article by journalist Rod Liddle that risked halting the long-delayed trial of two men accused of the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence.
The Spectator was prosecuted under section 82 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 for being in breach of specific reporting restrictions imposed by the Court of Appeal when authorising a second trial.
The magazine, which had pleaded guilty from the outset, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 to each of Lawrence’s parents for the distress caused. It was not charged with contempt of court because no juror had been influenced by the article.
Thoughts on the case: ‘This was the highest-profile prosecution yet under legislation introduced in 2003 to allow defendants who had already been tried and acquitted to be tried again – it was the end of the double jeopardy rule. My client apologises not only to the relatives and friends of Stephen Lawrence, but also to the police, prosecutors, trial judge and everyone who worked so hard to ensure the wheels of justice ran smoothly.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘It’s a fascinating profession that allows you to do something good for individuals.’
Career high: ‘I defended a major conspiracy to defraud, which required three years’ preparation and then two years in trial at the Old Bailey. It was a great feeling when my clients walked free.’
Career low: ‘Many years ago when I was a young duty solicitor my client, who had been charged with gross indecency, put in a not guilty plea – then promptly dropped his trousers.’