Kent

Jeremy Hunt ordered to delete 'inappropriate' tweet during trial

Jeremy Hunt Image copyright PA
Image caption Jeremy Hunt tweeted his comment on the second day of a manslaughter trial

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was ordered by a judge to delete a "highly inappropriate" tweet he sent during a landmark manslaughter trial.

The minister posted a link to a news report of the Frances Cappuccini trial, saying it was a "tragic case from which huge lessons must be learned".

Mr Justice Coulson ordered the tweet be removed immediately.

Mrs Cappuccini died after surgery following a Caesarean birth at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Kent.

The tweet led the judge to bemoan there were "no professional lawyers" in the House of Commons.

Mr Hunt, Conservative MP for South West Surrey, tweeted his comment on the second day of the trial at the Inner London Crown Court.

The order compelling Mr Hunt to remove his tweet on 14 January could not be reported as the case continued.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption The Health Secretary removed the tweet after being ordered to do so by Mr Justice Coulson

'Contempt of court'

The judge told the court: "It is highly inappropriate for anybody to pass comment which might be said to know the result of a trial before that result is known.

"I suppose, potentially, in a very serious case, it could be regarded as a contempt of court.

"I would hope that everybody would know that.

"Sadly, these days, many people in public life don't know that.

"These days it is hard to have the word 'tweet' without 'ill-advised' before it."

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Errol Cornish denied manslaughter by gross negligence and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust denied corporate manslaughter.

The case, which was halted on Wednesday, was the first corporate manslaughter prosecution of an NHS trust.

Both the trust and Dr Cornish have been cleared.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Frances Cappuccini died at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in October 2012

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