A judge has agreed that the press can name a teenage rapist, after the Wandsworth Borough News argued his anonymity was contrary to the public interest.
A Section 39 order prevented the media from giving Jermaine Green’s name during his trial for armed rape and robbery in a brothel in a residential street.
But when the jury delivered a guilty verdict the News applied for the order to be lifted.
Green’s crime was to storm the brothel as part of a gang of masked men. They repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped a prostitute, who had been trafficked to Britain from eastern Europe, and one of the gang assaulted her with a handgun, threatening to fire. Green was two days past his 17th birthday at the time, and DNA evidence linked him to the crime.
In its written submission, the weekly newspaper argued: “The News believes that, following any guilty verdict, the ban on naming Mr Green should be lifted, given the extreme seriousness of the offences involved.
“It should be remembered that Section 39 orders were not intended to be made automatically when a juvenile is tried in an adult court, but should be made at the discretion of the judge when all factors – including the harm to the defendant and the public interest in knowing as much of the proceedings as possible – have been fully taken into account.
“The News believes that the publication of Mr Green’s name in this case will act as a significant deterrent to his contemporaries, and that there is an overwhelming public interest in his naming, given the violence and seriousness of the crimes, carried out in a residential street against highly vulnerable victims, and involving both firearms, knives and sexual assault.
“The News also believes Mr Green’s age should carry weight – he was 17 at the time the offences were committed, not far from the age of adulthood. The case in favour of anonymity would be far stronger if he had been in his early or mid-teens, but in fact he was a near-adult carrying out offences of such gravity that they are normally associated with adult offenders.”
Green’s barrister said publication would only serve to “titillate readers of the Wandsworth Borough News”, and that the effect on his family would “last a great deal longer than the wrapping of the fish and chips in tomorrow’s newspaper”.
At Green’s sentencing at Kingston Crown Court, Judge Hucker sided with the News and praised it for “reasoning and logic set out in very clear terms”.
Detective Inspector Barry Smith, of Wandsworth Police, also praised the newspaper’s successful application to name Green, saying: “I’m in total agreement that they should be named and shamed. They commit these offences – why should we then offer them anonymity?
“I take what was said about the effect on their families, but he never gave that much of a thought to them when he did what did. If you play big boys’ games, you have got to face the consequences.”
Any journalists wishing to obtain a copy of the Wandsworth Borough News’ full submission can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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