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Editors convicted in S39 case

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Two Sussex newspaper editors have been convicted in a case which could set a precedent for journalists reporting court cases involving children.

Evening Argus editor Simon Bradshaw, and West Sussex County Times editorial director David Briffett, were found guilty of publishing articles that contravened a court order banning identification of a teenage boy excluded from school.

The case hinged on Section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933 which bans the media from identifying children and young people involved in case.

The restriction includes their name, address and school, and publishing anything calculated to lead to their identification.

Magistrates were told the articles were published last year and accurately reported a High Court case in which the boy, from the Horsham district, successfully challenged his school’s decision to exclude him. The High Court imposed Section 39 order.

The articles did not report the boy’s name, address or school.

Magistrate Rosemary Scott, chairman of the bench at the court in Haywards Heath, said dates published when he was excluded and started a new school had allowed a number of people with ‘some knowledge’ to identify him.

She said: “We accept that a total stranger would not be able to identify him from these reports but the question for us is to what extent persons with some knowledge of the boy would be able to identify him from the reports.

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