Man accused of revealing information aired in Court of Protection could be jailed

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A man could be jailed after being accused of publishing private information aired in a specialist court where judges consider issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions.

Officials at the Office of the Public Guardian, a Government body set up to protect and help vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions, want a judge to commit the man to prison for contempt of court.

They say he has breached a judge's order which barred him from publishing information aired at a public hearing in the Court of Protection.

A High Court judge has analysed preliminary issues at a High Court hearing.

Mr Justice Williams, who considered the case at a hearing in London on Tuesday, advised the man to seek legal advice.

He said a follow-up hearing would be staged in the near future.

Barrister Emma Sutton, who represented the Office of the Public Guardian, told the judge that the case was the first of its kind.

Court of Protection hearings have traditionally been staged in private to protect people at the centre of litigation. Two years ago judges began hearing cases in public in the wake of secret justice complaints. Judges overseeing public hearings make orders - called "transparency orders" - limiting what can be published.

Miss Sutton said it was the first time anyone had faced contempt proceedings as a result of being accused of breaching a  Court of Protection "transparency order" - and the first application of its kind by the Office of the Public Guardian.