Allowing the appeal:
(1) All tribunals exercising the judicial power of the state, including the Magistrates Court, have an inherent jurisdiction to determine how the constitutional principle of open justice should be applied. This includes the power to make the order sought by GNM in this case.
(2) The courts have recognised that the practice of receiving evidence without it being read in open court potentially has the side effect of making the proceedings less intelligible to the press and the public. Counter measures are needed to address this problem.
(3) Where documents have been placed before a judge and referred to in the course of proceedings, the default position should therefore be that the media should be permitted to have access to those documents on the open justice principle.
(4) Where objections to such an application are raised, the court will need to evaluate the application with reference to the purpose of the open justice principle, the potential value of the material in advancing that purpose and, conversely, any risk of harm which access to the documents may cause to the legitimate interests of others. Where a case involves a child or a vulnerable adult, there may be strong reasons for not allowing access.
(5) Neither the Freedom of Information Act nor the Criminal Procedure Rules precluded the court from permitting a non-party to have access to documents if the court considered such access to be proper under the open justice principle.
(6) In the current case, GNM put forward good reasons for obtaining access to the documents, which concerned a subject of considerable public interest. There was no suggestion that this would give rise to any risk of harm to any other party, nor would it place any great burden on the court. GNM’s application should therefore succeed.