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CPS ordered to hand over photographs as Lodge trial adjourned

17 October 2006 - EPUK

The Crown Prosecution Service was today given 21 days to hand over potential evidence to a Nottingham freelance arrested while photographing a police operation.

Alan Lodge, 53, who is charged with obstruction of a police officer, claims the electronic metadata on digital photographs could prove his innocence. It is understood that the only witnesses to the events which led up to the arrest were other police officers.

Lodge’s equipment was taken away following his arrest, but returned a month later without his camera’s memory card which contained around 50 images taken on the day. While printouts of the digital photographs on the card have already been provided, the defence have also asked to see the original digital images to examine the electronic metadata, which contains detailed information about the timing, camera settings and equipment used to take each photograph.

The CPS have now been told to either supply copies of the photographs taken prior to the alleged incident with 21 days, or to provide the court with an explanation as to why they will not.

Alan Lodge (pictured second from right) is pictured outside court with supporters including the NUJ’s General Secretary Jeremy Dear (third from right) and Freelance Organiser John Toner (second from left). Photograph: Pete Jenkins

Lodge, an accredited news photographer and holder of a national press card, was arrested whilst attempting to photograph an incident involving armed police officers in Nottingham city centre last March. He is being defended in court by the NUJ’s solicitors Thompsons, who are expected to argue that the arrest contravened Nottinghamshire Police’s own formal guidelines for dealing with the press, which had only been introduced by the Nottinghamshire force a month previously. Lodge had himself been involved with the drawing up of the police guidelines.

At an earlier pre-trial hearing, Paul Dhami, representing the defendant, told the court: “Alan Lodge was photographing a police armed response unit on Alfred Street, Nottingham, on Saturday 18th March. He was arrested firstly for assault, then de-arrested. He was then arrested and de-arrested for breach of the peace, before finally being arrested and later charged with obstruction.”

The case against Alan Lodge has now been put back to 5th March 2007, and is expected to last for two days.

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