AddThis SmartLayers

Teenager who photographed gang rape is named

Journalists were able to name a teenage boy involved in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl after submissions from the Press Association.

Mustafa Arshad, 17, took two photos on his mobile phone of the victim being degraded with a bottle of Jack Daniels, during an attack in which the victim was raped by three other men at a house in Rochdale in May 2008.

He admitted taking two indecent photos of a child and aiding and abetting two others to sexually assault the girl with the bottle by taking the photos, Media Lawyer reports.

David Bentley, mitigating for Arshad, asked Judge William Morris at Bolton Crown Court to make an order under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to stop him being identified in reports of the case.

Mr Bentley argued that Arshad’s role was not as serious as those played by the other three adult defendants.

There were concerns about how the case would be reported as Arshad’s name would be linked to a “gang rape” when he did not physically sexually assault the girl himself.

He also argued there would be a “stigma” attached to Arshad and there would be a “lack of distinction” between Arshad and the others by either the press or public.

Mr Bentley asked the judge for a non-custodial sentence, saying that if Arshad was to be given a community penalty, given the publicity, he might be branded a rapist in the future and there may be consequences for himself and his family.

During an adjournment, Press Association reporter Pat Hurst consulted PA legal editor Mike Dodd before submitting a written application opposing any ban on identifying Arshad.

PA argued it was perverse to argue Arshad should be given anonymity because a non-custodial sentence was sought because of the risk of consequences later.

This was not the intended purpose of such an order.

PA also pointed out that as no order was yet in place, the media would have been free to identify Arshad in reports of previous hearings and of the current one.

PA also argued the case was a matter of great public interest and concern in the local community.

Given that Arshad had admitted having played some part in what had been described in court as a gang rape by taking photos and aiding and abetting a sexual assault, and given the gravity of the offences as a whole, it could not be said that would be subject to any unjustified publicity.

Judge Morris rejected the defence application for the anonymity order and Arshad was sentenced to eight months in a Young Offenders Institute.