Anti-whaling teen granted press anonymity by judge

A District Judge made an order banning the media from identifying a 14-year-old girl who was arrested during an anti-whaling protest at the Japanese embassy in London, despite her protests and the fact that they had already been widely identified.

The girl was widely identified in newspaper reports and by broadcasters and on websites when she and a man were arrested in January at the Embassy while protesting about a Japanese whaling expedition in the Southern Ocean.

But when she and the 50-year-old man appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates Court on February 6, District Judge Quentin Purdy made an order under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 banning the identification of the teenaged girl.

This was despite the fact that she and the man had posed for pictures and been interviewed by journalists outside the court when they arrived, and also protested, through their lawyer, that they did not want anonymity and positively wished to be identified.

District Judge Purdy said he was refusing to rescind the order as the teenaged girl was appearing at the magistrates’ court only because she was charged jointly with an adult – otherwise, she would have appeared in a Youth Court, where she would automatically be protected by anonymity.

The case was adjourned for the Attorney General to decide on whether to go ahead with the prosecution, as the offence took place within the Japanese Embassy, which is regarded in law as being on Japanese soil.

The teenager and her father are charged with criminal trespass by attaching themselves to the embassy railings with cable ties.

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