A reporter for the Milton Keynes-based MK News this week successfully challenged an unlawful reporting restriction on a dead baby.
Alicia Babaee was reporting on the manslaughter of an 11-month-old child, Cameron O’Toole, at Milton Keyne’s Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday when magistrates passed an order banning the identification of the infant under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons’ Act 1933.
Under the terms of the order, the boy’s father John Thomas O’Toole, 27, of Beanhill, who was charged with his manslaughter could not be named either. Section 39 orders cannot be made with regard to dead children – or for the benefit of family members.
Babaee, who recently passed her preliminary NCTJ law exams, said there was ‘no good reason’for making the order
She said: ‘When the magistrate announced that a section 39 order was being placed on both the father and the son, I wasn’t expecting it as the baby was dead.
‘I felt sure they weren’t allowed to impose the order in these circumstances. I immediately consulted my law books and wrote a letter to the magistrate referring them to the relevant laws and specific cases.
‘I was pleased when the clerk called me later that day to tell me that I was right and the order had been rescinded.’
The case was committed to Milton Keynes Crown Court where O’Toole faces a preliminary hearing later this month.