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Newspaper defeats name ban on gun-toting teenager

A regional Sunday newspaper has named a teenager who held two police officers at gunpoint, after successfully challenging a reporting restriction.

Journalists from Bedfordshire on Sunday argued against a Section 39 order which prevented them from identifying 17-year-old David Barnett, who was sentenced last week for making use of an imitation firearm with intent.

News editor Keeley Knowles and reporter Kathryn Cain, who attended the hearing at Luton Crown Court, prepared a written challenge after learning that the order was being considered by Judge Philip Bartle under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

They argued that the defendant was on a prison recall notice at the time of the offence on 8 August and had been convicted of such a serious offence that the public had a right to know who he was.

The journalists also argued that identifying Barnett may serve as a deterrent to others.

Said Keeley: “It was a shocking crime in which Barnett threatened two police officers with a revolver – which unbeknown to them at the time was a fake.

“He was on recall to prison after being released on licence just three months before for stabbing somebody in the back. We felt it was a strong enough case to challenge the order and thankfully the Judge saw sense and lifted it.

“We continue to fight for the cause and think it’s crucial that the public are made aware of criminals such as Barnett and the consequences for the crimes they commit.”

It is the fourth time this year that the free newspaper has successfully had a court order overturned.

The Judge sentenced Barnett to four-and-a-half years in prison and praised the bravery of the two police officers.

The court was told that PC Richard Carton and PC Stephen Ralston were threatened with a revolver by Barnett, who was then 16-years-old, in an early morning stand-off in an alleyway in Bedford.

The officers tried to arrest Barnett, of Ossory Way, Bedford, as he was on recall to prison after being released on licence in May and had breached the conditions of his release.

But the court was told he produced the revolver on the policemen and pulled the trigger while aiming it at PC Carton’s head.

When Barnett continued refusing to drop the gun, armed police shot a baton round at him before police dog Paulo was deployed to take him down.

Defending, Nicholas Doran said: “He had been given the gun earlier that day and told to hold it until such a time as they wanted it back and he felt he couldn’t refuse these people. He is clearly extremely remorseful of his actions.”

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  • December 13, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Do love the word ‘toting’ as in ‘gun-toting’ teenager. It is one of those words, never used in speech, that only ever appears in newspaper headlines.

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