Baby neglect mum named after PA challenge

An anonymity order which purported to ban the media from naming a child whose mother was convicted of neglecting another baby, who died, was lifted after the Press Association pointed out that the court had no power to make it.

Judge Stuart Baker, sitting at Preston Crown Court, made an order under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to give anonymity to the surviving baby of defendant Rebecca Mary Ireland.

But the child was not involved in the proceedings in any way, having been born after the events which led to Ireland appearing at court on a charge of neglect.

Press Association legal editor Mike Dodd raised the issue with the judge, pointing out that there was no power to make the order because the child was not “concerned in the proceedings” in the manner required by the Act, and drawing his attention to the recently published updated guidance from the Judicial Studies Board entitled Reporting Restrictions in the Criminal Courts.

The judge subsequently revoked the order.

Ireland was jailed for 12 weeks when she appeared in court on December 11 and admitted neglect of her six-week-old daughter Katie.

The court had heard that Ireland went on a 14-hour drink and drug-fuelled bender in April then took Katie to bed with her. When she awoke at 8am the following day the baby was face down in the bed and was not breathing.

Medical experts were unable to agree on the cause of Katie’s death – the prosecution expert said she suffocated, but the defence expert suggested she might have been a cot death victim.

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