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PA protest sees judge reverse reporting ban

A judge overturned an order banning the press from giving the address of a husband and wife accused of running a brothel.

The same judge also reversed a decision to prohibit use of the woman’s photograph after a challenge was made by the Press Association, Media Lawyer reports.

Former PE teacher Tim Blake-Bowell and his wife Emma were charged with controlling prostitutes for financial gain and a trial date has been set for next February.

Judge Adele Williams made the order at Canterbury Crown Court under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 which grants automatic anonymity to minors involved in court proceedings.

Although the two defendants were both adults, defending barrister Deborah Charles said the original order was made to protect the couple’s children from publicity.

Press Association legal editor Mike Dodd challenged the order, writing to the judge to point out the couple’s children were not concerned in the proceedings.

This is required for a Section 39 order to be made and these orders cannot be used to protect adult defendants. The judge agreed that the Section 39 order should not have been made.

The defence then applied for an order under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 to ban publication of Mrs Blake-Bowell’s photograph.

She argued there was a danger her abusive former partner, who did not know her married name, would find her if her photograph and address were published.

Mike Dodd wrote a separate submission to the court, arguing that a Section 11 order could not be used as the defendant’s address had already been given in open court.

In declining to make any order, Judge Williams said: “I have a very difficult balancing exercise here.

“I have come to the conclusion here that I am not justified in making the order…to restrict publicity of a photograph.”

The judge added that because the woman’s former partner had not been violent towards her in ten years, it was unlikely he would seek her out if he saw her photo and address in the press.