The Hereford Times has won a court challenge to name a high ranking SAS soldier facing assault charges.
An order banning any identification of Dale John Loveridge was overturned at Hereford Magistrates Court.
The banning order was imposed at an earlier hearing and challenged by the Hereford Times as unlawful.
Lawyers for Loveridge, (46), made a written submission saying the order should stand because their client was “a high ranking member of the SAS” and that the disclosure of his details might “jeopardise his personal safety and his career”.
The submission also said the publication of such details could compromise the administration of justice with Loveridge “not able to play an active role in proceedings” if his over-riding concern was one of personal security.
At the earlier hearing Loveridge’s defence raised the issue of his being “embarrassed” by the publication of identification and case details as a reason to sustain the ban.
In court, the Hereford Times argued that magistrates did not have the authority to make Loveridge the subject of such an order, which, on the evidence presented, went against established principles of open justice.
Overturning the order, District Judge Grego referred to existing case law cited by the Hereford Times to rule that “substanstial risk” to proceedings had not been demonstrated.
He explained that the risk of prejudice to a defendant because of proceedings brought against a defendant was the price paid for open justice and the benefits to society that outweigh the impact upon the individual.
He said: “In any event, that prejudice is displaced by a fair trial at which, on the evidence, the defendant is found guilty or not guilty.
Loveridge, whose address has been given to the court as Stirling Lines, Credenhill, faces trial on two charges of assault.
john morrison (21/05/2008 04:22:54)
I am an ex sas soldier living in Canada at present, I have been a private investigator for several years and am familar with the law. I am disappointed in the Courts reasoning regarding members of the regiment, we are targets during and after service to our country and in my honest opinion the Judge has erred. Substantial risks ?.
Garry Jones (29/05/2008 22:40:15)
I think that as the premier newspaper for Hereford they have damaged their reputation in forcing the court to name the SAS soldier involved
Bernard Greene (19/07/2008 16:56:36)
I’m also an ex SAS soldier and I do not agree that SAS Soldiers should be anonymous in a court of law.Or for that matter members of the Police Force.