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Daily barred from naming sex attacker because he has younger sibling

Gregory DickinsonA judge barred a regional daily from naming a teenage double sex attacker because doing so could affect his younger sibling.

The Nottingham Post has been told it must wait until the jailed 16-year-old’s 18th birthday before publishing his identity.

The youth had pleaded guilty in November to two attempted rapes and three sexual assaults, all on the same Sunday morning, and was jailed for nine years in January.

His crimes, which involved two victims aged 22 and 62, were described as “truly terrifying” by Nottinghamshire Police, with the judge describing the second attack as “violent, sustained, brutal and degrading.”

After sentencing, Judge Gregory Dickinson QC, left, invited representations from the media regarding the Section 45 reporting restriction imposed during proceedings, with both the Post and BBC East Midlands Today responding.

In a letter to the court, Post editor Mike Sassi had argued the newspaper’s request to name the attacker was on the basis of “the strong public interest in open justice, particularly in relation to serious crimes which have had a profound effect on the local community”.

During the hearing the defendant’s barrister Adrian Langdale opposed his client’s identification, while prosecutor Dawn Pritchard said their stand was neutral but told the judge the victims were “keen his name be put in the press”.

Making his ruling on Monday, Judge Dickinson said that he had weighed up the strong argument on behalf of those asking for the removal of the restriction, the “serious and horrifying circumstances of the case, the strong public interest and freedom of reporting”.

But he said that “on the other side of the divide” the defendant, who was not present at the hearing, had a difficult background which had left him “emotionally damaged”, and a letter from the youth showed he “does understand the enormity of what he has done”.

Judge Dickinson added: “This defendant has a young sibling. It may be the people in the locality know the identity of the defendant, but not everybody will.

“Reporting the name of this young defendant will mean that others, for the first time, will know it is him, learn what he has done and then come into contact with his young sibling. It seems to me that is a relevant factor when considering public interest.

“On balance I have decided that this prohibition on publication should remain in place and last only until the defendant’s 18th birthday next year.”

He added it was now a matter for the defendant to decide if he wanted to seek continued anonymity after he turned 18.

After the case, Mike said: “We do, of course, respect the judge’s decision. However there has to be a strong case for local people to be told the identity of youngsters who commit such heinous crimes.”

4 comments

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  • July 24, 2017 at 11:20 am
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    Presumably any defendant can now use the same bonkers idea. Those rapists, murderers, drink drivers, shoplifters, drug dealers, fraudsters (add your own list here!) who have young family members will be laughing all the way to jail.

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  • July 26, 2017 at 9:35 am
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    Ex-JP Sub: Only if they’re juveniles. Which would rule out most of the people you’ve just listed.

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  • July 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm
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    Presumably the younger sibling will still be a child when he his brother turn 18, so what difference does the ruling make to his/her wellbeing?

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