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Train vandal named after Herald overturns court gag

A south-east weekly overturned a gagging order preventing it from naming a 16-year-old boy who nearly blinded a train driver.

Dale Luther appeared at St Albans Crown Court for sentencing after previously admitting two charges which involved throwing a fire extinguisher at a moving train, showering the driver with glass.

With help from the Newspaper Society, East Herts Herald reporter Lisa Morrison made representations to the judge who lifted the teenager’s anonymity.

The order was made under Section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act l933 but unlike youth courts, where juveniles have automatic anonymity, in adult courts the use of the order is discretionary.

In court Lisa handed a written submission to the bench requesting that the Section 39 order be lifted in the interests of open justice and because of the severity of the offences.

The successful application, drafted by a legal adviser from the NS, was supported by the British Transport Police which said lifting Luther’s right to anonymity would act as a deterrent to others.

Lisa said: “We were delighted that the judge ruled in our favour in the interest of open justice.

“We felt it was important for our readers to know the identity of the defendant given the serious nature of the crimes.

“Hopefully, by naming and shaming Dale Luther it will also act as a deterrent to other young offenders.”

Luther was sentenced to 22 months in a detention and training centre.