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Trainee reporter’s unexpected court order success

A trainee reporter on a regional daily has successfully challenged his first ever court order.

Daniel Sanderson, 25, a reporter for the Scarborough Evening News successfully applied to overturn the S39 order at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

The order had been applied to a case involving a defendant who had assualted his partner and three-year-old child.

Magistrates heard that during the alleged incident the man went to slap his partner, who was holding their child, but missed and hit the toddler instead. He then pushed the woman, causing the youngster to bang her head.

Said Daniel: “There was already a section 39 order in place from an earlier hearing, but I argued that the child was too young to be adversely affected by publicity and that if the order remained in place we would be unable to publish the full extent of the offences, and that effectively the order would serve to protect the defendant rather than the child.

“Nick Tubbs, who was representing the defendant, argued that the order should remain in place to protect the identity of the child, but I’m delighted to say the magistrates ruled in my favour, especially as they seem to have a habit of handing out these orders without much thought the moment a child is mentioned in proceedings.”

Added Daniel: “I was not expecting the case to come up as it wasn’t listed so I hadn’t prepared for the application, but my media law training at Darlington College came back to me.”

Scarborough Evening News editor Ed Asquith praised Daniel’s efforts and said it was important for trainees to have the knowledge and boldness to make these kind of challenges on the spot.

Said Ed: “He was rightly able to point out that the attempted imposition of a Section 39 would merely have given comfort to the offender.

“I think we should also acknowledge that the bench was not so easily swayed by the defending solicitor and that they were willing to listen to call a halt to the request for the restrictions when Daniel presented our reasoning.”