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Reporter's argument on S39 order persuades the judge

Scarborough Evening News reporter Richard Harris has successfully argued that a court order should not be imposed in a case involving cruelty to a baby.

It was his second successful legal identification challenge in a few months.

In a letter to Judge Paul Hoffman, at York Crown Court, the reporter said that a Section 39 order, banning the naming of a six month old child, should not be implemented.

He quoted the Judicial Studies Board which in 2001 said: “Age alone is insufficient to justify the order.

“Courts have accepted that very young children cannot be harmed by publicity of which they will be unaware and therefore section 39 orders are unnecessary … any adverse publicity is likely to have been a thing of the past before the child would even be aware of it.”

Richard also quoted previous cases in which Section 39 orders had been overturned and argued that to keep the order – which had originally been imposed by magistrates – in place would merely help protect the defendants rather than the child.

Despite submissions from defence and prosecution barristers to the contrary Judge Hoffman agreed with the reporter and the Section 39 was not imposed.

This is the second success for Richard. Earlier in the year he successfully argued in magistrates’ court that a Section 11 restriction should not be imposed banning the publication of a defendant’s address.

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