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Paedophile named after newspapers overturn ban

Two south-coast newspapers have succeeded in their bid to name a paedophile caught with 697 indecent images of children.

Last month we reported how The News, Portsmouth, and Johnston Press sister title the Chichester Observer had both written to Chichester Magistrates’ Court asking for the naming ban to be lifted.

Yesterday their wish was granted by Judge William Wood QC when he sentenced the man to eight months in prison at Chichester Magistrates Court.

The ban was initially placed by Chichester magistrates under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 for fear of reprisals against the man and his children who attend a local school.

The judge said: “The reality is that there is no adequate justification to restrict publicity in the usual way.

“If the press chose to publish the name and the address of the defendant they can.

“The fact that his children might be in some difficulty as a consequence is, in light of the decision of a superior court, not a factor that I should be allowed to take into account.”

The judge made his decision after reading a letter from the Press Association’s legal editor Mike Dodd, which was supported by submissions from The News and the Chichester Observer.

Mike argued that an order could not be made to protect children who were not directly involved in the case and that there was an overriding interest in the public knowing the identity of those who commit serious offences.

He also cited a ruling earlier this year by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, which overturned a similar order made by a judge at Croydon Crown Court.

Deputy editor of The News Mark Acheson said: “We’re glad that the judge overturned an order that plainly was unlawful, given that it related to children who were not part of the proceedings.

“The precedent had already been established at the Court of Appeal and it is a pity that Chichester magistrates agreed to impose the order without the court first notifying journalists and therefore giving us an opportunity to contest its validity.”