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Sussex S39 case:A lawyer's view

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Cathryn Smith, a partner in the media team at Foot Anstey Sargent, is a newspaper lawyer who “legals” raw copy every day.

She said: “The difference is going to be that when a journalist or editor looks at a piece of copy where such an order has been made, he or she is not going to know what background knowledge the readers will have.

“Or which one or two bits of background information might lead to an identification.

“There are always a limited number of people who can identify the child.It’s a question of judgement.”

She had not seen the articles to which this case referred, but said the S39 order uses the term “anything calculated” to lead to their identification.

She said that the court’s view of ‘calculated’ meaning ‘likely’ was wrong.

She said: “The Sexual Offences Act refers to ‘likely to’ as opposed to ‘calculated to’ which means there is a difference of interpretation.

“The advantage to the world of journalism is that if there is an appeal we will get a higher court considering exactly what ‘calculated’ means.

“I hope the appeal will be successful in finding there was no intention and therefore it was not calculated.

“How can any editor or journalist know how much knowledge the general public has?

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