A court order over how a juvenile could be pictured after her anonymity was removed left the media confused when there was no opportunity to appeal against the magistrates’ decision.
An application to Newbury Youth Court was made by the Press Association, supported by the Newbury Weekly News, Reading Evening Post, the INS news agency and Meridian TV to identify Britain’s youngest drink driver.
But as soon as the bench agreed, magistrates issued a further directive, that no pictures taken of her before the hearing could be used.
The decision, and the refusal of the court to consider submissions for lifting the ban on old photos, resulted in several publications using pixellated photos of the defendant taken before the order was made as there was no opportunity for new shots.
The lifting of automatic anonymity granted under S49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 occurred after magistrates agreed with PA man Simon Evans that the 14-year-old defendant was a repeat offender, a danger to the public and herself, and that there was a genuine public interest in the public knowing who she was.
Chairman of the bench, Margaret Bates, said: “Because we find this is a serious offence and a repeat offence, the public should receive an accurate report of today’s proceedings including the identity of the defendant.”
She added that reports could not give her precise address or the name of her school – and added that previously shot footage of her – including that of her entering for the hearing – could not be used and only new photos and film could be published.