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Trainee reporter persuades judge to lift S39 order on two rapists

A trainee reporter from the Croydon Guardian has successfully got a section 39 order overturned, which had prevented the identification of two rapists.

Graham Moody, who has been working at the paper for less than a year, impressed Judge Stephen Waller with a letter he wrote to the court asking for the identification ban to be lifted in the public interest.

Kersley McDermott, (18), of Goulden House, Bullen Street, Battersea, and Curtis Clinton, (17), of Upton Road, Thornton Heath, were found guilty on two counts of raping a disabled woman in an alleyway.

Their names were withheld from the public when a section 39 order was imposed at the beginning of a trial at Croydon Crown Court.

A third man, Ashley Mitchell, (19), also of Upton Road, had previously been named in court.

Judge Waller said he would lift a restriction on the publication of both Clinton and McDermott’s names after receiving a persuasive letter from the Croydon Guardian, although he did admit the restriction on McDermott’s name had been an error as he is over 18.

Judge Waller said: “There is now a legitimate public interest as a deterrent effect.

“Mr Clinton has had the benefit of anonymity during the trial but he has now been convicted and the situation has changed.”

The trio will be held in custody until their sentencing on October 5 when the probation service will have assessed their danger to the public.

Croydon Guardian assistant editor Danny Brierley said: “Graham put forward a persuasive argument in what was only his first attempt at covering a crown court trial.

“It just goes to show that it is always worth challenging courts.”