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Stabbing youths named after reporter overturns Section 39 order

A regional daily reporter persuaded a judge to lift a Section 39 order enabling her to name two youths involved in a churchyard stabbing.

Rachel Millard, crime reporter at Brighton daily The Argus, wrote a note to the judge in the case of three teenagers jailed last week for stabbing a 16-year-old boy.

Two of the defendants were covered by a Section 39 order to prevent their identification but Rachel argued that due to the serious nature of the offences, they should be named.

The third defendant in the case was a 19-year-old and Rachel said it would be unfair for his name to be the only one published.

The Argus' coverage of the story.

The Argus’ coverage of the story.

After reading Rachel’s note, Judge Richard Hayward agreed to lift the Section 39 order so the trio could be named at the sentencing at Lewes Crown Court, saying it was important the public knew what had happened.

Rachel told HTFP: “I was very surprised because I have tried many times to do that before and it has not always worked.

“I argued they should be named because of the serious nature of the offences and the fact that one of them was 19 so was going to be named and it was unfair that the whole burden of the public knowledge was on him, as his role wasn’t the most serious.”

The trio were involved in attacking and stabbing a 16-year-old rival gang member at St Mary’s parish churchyard in Hailsham on 20 March, who was taken to hospital with serious chest wounds.

Oliver Anfield Dennis, 19, of Meadow Road, Hailsham, Kieran Patrik Zacharias, 17, of Knoll Crescent, Eastbourne and Charlie Saint, 16, of Wordsworth Drive, Eastbourne, were all placed in detention for up to seven years for the attack.

Zacharias pleaded guilty to wounding, stating he had stabbed the victim three times. The other two defendants did not stab the victim but supported the attack and were convicted of wounding under joint enterprise.

Flora Thompson

Rachel’s success in getting the Section 39 order lifted comes after another journalist at The Argus, Flora Thompson, managed to get reporting restrictions relaxed in another court case during the summer.

That case involved Benjamin Reeve, 22, of Dorset Gardens, Brighton, who was jailed for 12 years and six months for fracturing his six-week-old baby’s skull and ribs.

Flora, pictured left, wrote to the judge arguing that the defendant should be named as the child was too young to be harmed by publicity.

This led to the judge relaxing the Section 39 order so that the Reeve could be identified but the child could not be named.

5 comments

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  • September 22, 2015 at 10:28 am
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    Well done. Good to be reassured there are still young journos out there with the determination to succeed.

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  • September 22, 2015 at 11:28 am
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    Good story but she has not fought to get an unjust order overturned.

    There is no indication the judge was not intending to lift the order after sentencing.

    I don’t think this is a success story.

    She didn’t argue a case, the judge instantly agreeing makes me think he never intended to leave the order in place one he had jailed the trio.

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  • September 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm
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    Excellent work by both reporters; congratulations – and how refreshing actually to have someone in court able to make these representations, not stuck in the office pressing Ctrl-V, Ctrl-C all day. Proper old-fashioned journalism, for which no one should make any apology. And not a photo of someone from TOWIE in sight.

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  • September 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm
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    Sounds like Desker hasn’t been in a court room in a while.
    Courts now all to regularly impose unnecessary section 39s unfortunately almost automatically. Congratulations to Rachel Millard – if she had not fought her corner, these other two youngsters would have escaped being named and shamed for their crimes.

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  • September 22, 2015 at 6:16 pm
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    Bit harsh, Desker. I’ve been where she is in the past and it can be a daunting experience – with a big sense of satisfaction if you get the order lifted. Respect to you, Rachel.

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