Section 45 reporting restriction revoked to allow screening of new Channel 5 documentary about domestic abuse 

A new documentary about domestic abuse by filmmakers Atticus Film and Television (“Atticus”) has aired on Channel 5 this week. This follows a successful opposed application to Hull Crown Court to lift a reporting restriction, in which Stephanie Davin acted for Atticus. 

The documentary tells the story of Richard Spencer, whose wife was convicted in Hull Crown Court in 2023 of coercive and controlling behaviour and assault perpetrated against him. Some of the abuse occurred in front of their children. Much was captured in video footage of the inside of their home. 

Last year Atticus made an application to Hull Crown Court to revoke or vary a reporting restriction previously made in the criminal proceedings under s.45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. They did so to enable them to publish their documentary in full, including footage depicting the abuse in which the children are visible. 

The application was opposed and heard across two days. HHJ Rayfield ultimately accepted Atticus’ primary submission that the children were not “concerned in the proceedings” in the way required by s.45 if an order is to be made. She revoked the s.45 order in its entirety. 

Clare Wisson provided initial advice and Stephanie Davin acted in the Crown Court proceedings. They were instructed by Clare Hoban of Reviewed & Cleared on behalf of Atticus. The documentary is available on Channel 5.