An editor fined for identifying a sex offence victim is claiming his conviction is unsafe because readers could also have thought the person in question was the woman’s sister.
Thomas Sinclair, left, has launched a second appeal against his conviction for the offence, for which he was fined £1,500 at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court last year.
It followed the publication of a report in the Ceredigion Herald on a case which identified “familial links” between the victim and the defendant.
Sinclair was also told to pay more than £2,000 in prosecution costs following the dismissal of an initial appeal, which was heard at Swansea Crown Court last month.
However, he has now applied to challenge the decision by a legal process called ‘case stated’, which would see him appeal to a higher court if successful.
In his application, Sinclair claims the court erred in finding that there was a case to answer because “in circumstances where the complainant had a sister from whom she could not be distinguished by any information in the article, the article could not lead to a member of the public ‘identifying’ the complainant.”
He further claims that there was a failure to direct sitting justices in relation to evidence of his character, that the handling of his appeal was “otherwise vitiated by conspicuous actual or perceived unfairness” towards him, and that findings he was evasive in his evidence and contradicted himself were also unfair.
During his first appeal, Sinclair said the Ceredigion title had been closed following his conviction because the publicity surrounding the case had a negative effect on advertisers. He still edits the Carmarthenshire, Llanelli and Pembrokeshire Herald titles.