Reporters from a Bedfordshire weekly successfully overturned an invalid court order banning the media from identifying a youth who turned 18 during court proceedings.
Jack Crowe and his mother Julie, 40, of Kempston, Beds, deny charges of breaking into a store in the town and stealing duvets and ornaments on 28 December.
As Jack was 17 when proceedings began, the court insisted the order remain in place as he is due to be tried and sentenced as a youth.
However the order, which was made under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, was lifted after Bedfordshire on Sunday reporters pointed out that such a ban cannot apply when a defendant reaches 18.
BoS news editor Keeley Knowles and her colleague Kathryn Cain successfully challenged the order at a hearing at Bedford Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.
Said Keeley: “We knew immediately that the order could not be imposed for the defendant once he had reached the age of 18 but we had to convince the clerk and magistrates.
“Armed with our trusty McNae’s law book we pointed out to them that this was the case and they agreed that the section 39 order was invalid and that we were within our rights to identify the 18-year-old.
“The clerk thanked us for bringing it to their attention and even commented that she should get herself a copy of the book!”
A senior clerk at Bedford Magistrates’ Court said: “Previously there was an application made to lift reporting restrictions by another member of the press from a different organisation. On that occasion magistrates decided it was not in the interests of justice to lift restrictions.
“Since that time Jack has reached adulthood, and matters have now been brought to my attention that once a youth reaches the age of 18 the ban automatically ceases to exist.”