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Court order bid fails to block naming of 'home alone' mum

A court order which would have banned the North West Evening Mail from naming the defendant in a child neglect case was successfully argued down, resulting in a page one lead for the evening title.

Mail reporter James Chapelard attended Furness Magistrates Court to cover the case and the newspaper had reported how a 20-year-old single mum had left her 18-month-old baby home alone while she celebrated her birthday at a Barrow nightclub.

She had pleaded guilty to neglect which could have exposed the child to unnecessary suffering.

But it emerged that the defence wanted the court to impose a Section 39 order to ban the press from identifying the woman’s second child, who was not involved in the case, on the grounds that it might cause distress.

The move would have made naming the mum impossible, thus scuppering the paper’s story.

James said: “The order would have meant we could not have published the name of her child and through jigsaw identification we couldn’t have named the parent in the case.

“We felt that would have been against the principles of open justice and transparent court proceedings.”

Outside the courtroom, members of the press told officials they would dispute the order.

The court clerk checked legal documents over the lunch break, while James consulted with the Newspaper Society’s Political, Editorial & Regulatory Affairs team.

Once the session had restarted, the clerk announced that a S39 could not be imposed, leaving the press free to name the defendant.