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Sex pest named after paper overturns ban

A weekly newspaper reporter has successfully overturned a magistrates’ ban on the identification of a man convicted of sexual offences against young girls.

Carolyn Dench of the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times challenged the ruling during a sentencing hearing at Winchester Crown Court last Friday.

Paul Coleman, 43, had been convicted at an earlier trial in May on four counts of indecent assault and three counts of indecency with a child.

A reporting restriction banning his identification had previously been imposed by magistrates who first dealt with the case.

During Friday’s hearing, Coleman’s defence solicitor Alexia Durran attempted to persuade the court that the restriction should stay in place.

She urged the judge to continue that in order to protect the “very delicate position” of his family and added that he had a young daughter so the ban was required for her protection.

Carolyn challenged the request by asking why the original order had been made by magistrates, arguing that there was no legal basis to impose such a ban.

The judge, Thomas Longbotham, agreed and ruled that his name could be published.

Judge Longbotham said: “There is always a sadness for those who bear no responsibility of your actions who suffer as a result and it is sad that criminal activity of a parent can bring shame to a family.

“However, it is impossible to over-emphasise open justice by the press in a free country.”