AddThis SmartLayers

Newspapers battle to name anonymous paedophile

Two south-coast newspapers have locked horns with a local magistrates’ court after it banned them from naming a self-confessed paedophile caught with almost 700 indecent images of children.

The News, Portsmouth, and Johnston Press sister title the Chichester Observer have written to Chichester Magistrates’ Court calling for the banning order to be lifted.

It was made under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 through fear of reprisals against the man and his children who attend a local school.

The court order also refers to riots which took place in 2000 on a Portsmouth estate where locals believed a child sex offender was living.

The man admitted 28 charges of making almost 700 indecent images of children which were discovered by police on CDs after they raided his home in November. He is due to be sentenced on September 8 at Chichester Crown Court.

Press Association legal editor Mike Dodd helped The News draw up a letter from The News’ editor Mark Waldron.

It said: “I write to register my concern at an order made by Chichester Magistrates.

“The order purports to prohibit publication of anything which would identify the defendant in this case.

“It is submitted that the order is plainly unlawful, that it should not have been imposed by the court and that the court should therefore reconvene so that it can overturn the order.”

The letter goes on to quote a similar case at Croydon Crown Court involving a man who admitted possessing pornographic pictures of children.

The Court of Appeal Criminal Division overturned a naming ban after deciding that the original reason for issuing it – to protect the defendant’s children – was insufficient.