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Journalists defeat naming ban on child murder victim

A section 39 order which prevented the press naming a three-year-old girl who was allegedly murdered has been successfully challenged by journalists.

Reporters from Press Association and Sheffield daily The Star objected after Sheffield Magistrates imposed the order at a hearing on Monday involving Delroy Catwell, who is charged with murdering Lylah Aaron in Sheffield.

Catwell, 30, of Beck Road, Shiregreen, Sheffield, was charged with murder just hours before the hearing following Lylah’s death in the early hours of Saturday morning, after she was taken to hospital on Friday night.

Magistrates sent the case to Sheffield Crown Court but during the hearing the court clerk advised them to grant a Section 39 order under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 which banned identification of the dead child, without giving journalists the chance to make representations.

But a second hearing was convened before district judge Anthony Browne after protests from PA and The Star.

The judge heard representations from prosecution and defence lawyers, who argued that the order should remain in place.

But PA journalist Dave Higgens argued on behalf of both media organisations that the court did not have the power to make such an order relating to a dead child.

Lifting the order, Judge Browne said the purpose of a Section 39 order was to protect a child involved in proceedings from further harm and “sadly” that was not relevant to a deceased child.

He also referred to guidance entitled Reporting Restrictions in the Criminal Courts issued by the Judicial College, which clearly states that Section 39 orders may only be made in relation to living children.

Lifting the order, Judge Browne said: “The order was made mistakenly by the court.”

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  • February 15, 2013 at 10:49 am

    If the child is named in the charge that’s an end to the argument, I would have thought.

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