The Richmond and Twickenham Times has been banned from revealing the identity of a convicted sex offender, now facing fresh charges involving a 14-year-old boy.
Richmond Magistrates’ Court decided he was enough of a threat to impose an interim sexual offences prevention order but will not allow his name, address or anything leading to his identification to be revealed to the public or be printed in the paper.
Reporters fought to overturn the order but were told identifying the man could drive him underground, making it difficult for police to monitor him – and prejudice a jury if he is charged and sent to court.
The man had been helping run sports competitions for primary school children and has previous convictions for indecency. He is currently on bail and, as part of the order, he is not allowed to join or remain in the company of anyone under the age of 16 when no other adults, who are not registered sex offenders, are present.
There are five further clauses in the order but the press is not allowed to reveal them in case the man is identified.
Richmond and Twickenham Times editor Scott Barr said: “I believe those involved in such heinous crimes should be named and that the public has a right to know who is living on their doorstep.
“We will continue to follow the case and fight for this man’s identity to be revealed.”
A spokesman for the NSPCC added its voice to the newspaper’s concerns.
While admitting free access to all information about sex offenders would be dangerous, because of fears of vigilante attacks, the children’s charity agreed more work needed to be done to clarify the situation on identification.
The spokesman told readers: “While we are unable to comment on this specific case, the NSPCC believes people need to know that everything possible is being done to stop sex offenders from harming children.
“The Government must provide police, probation and other agencies with more resources to manage those who have committed sexual offences against children and who pose a risk to children.”