High Court Refuses Permission To Publish Ben Butler Judgment
Murder of Ellie Butler
Ellie Butler (30 December 2006 – 28 October 2013) was a British girl who was murdered by her father, Ben Butler, on 28 October 2013. In February 2007, he was arrested after Butler was taken to hospital with head and retinal injuries.
When Ben Butler walked free from the Court of Appeal in 2010 having had his conviction for harming his baby daughter quashed, he was triumphant.
Three years after little Ellie had almost died from a brain injury while in her father’s care,the judiciary had officially absolved him of any blame and he was determined to bask in the moment.
Source: The Rise And Fall Of Max Clifford.
In the wake of Butler’s conviction, seven media outlets including The Guardian applied for access to the full judgment, claiming that “it was in the public interest to know the full background to the murder of a child.” The judgment, handed down privately in the Family Division by Mrs Justice King in June 2014, ruled that Butler killed Ellie.
At the time, Mrs Justice King laid down reporting restrictions which prohibited the press from accessing the full judgment. Thus, the press were obliged to seek permission for its publication from Mrs Justice Pauffley. Pauffley cited Butler’s behaviour in the dock a cause for concern. Upon hearing the verdict, Butler reportedly shouted “I’ll fight for the rest of my life – unbelievable…I want to be sentenced now so I can fight in the Appeal Court.”
Pauffley ruled that this “expression of views, albeit in the heat of the moment immediately after the verdict, gives a solid indication this criminal process is likely to extend to the making of an application for permission to appeal or a submission should be made that this conviction should be overturned”.
However, counsel for the media Jude Bunting argued that, as there were no future proceedings scheduled, “there was no risk of substantial prejudice by the press under the Contempt of Court Act 1981”. He further stated that “there was public interest in the background to the horrific murder and open justice was a central plank of democracy