The widespread flouting of a temporary court order protecting the anonymity of those involved in the death of Baby P has again exposed the difficulty of maintaining court secrecy in the unregulated online world.
Tracey Connelly, Steven Barker and Jason Owen were today widely named in the media after a three-month court order expired. The order was made to give Connelly’s four other children time to prepare for the public naming of their mother.
The Daily Telegraph reports how several internet campaign groups flouted the court order by naming those involved in the death of the child.
Haringey council failed in its bid to argue that the identities of Connelly and her boyfriend should be kept secret until 2026 – when her fifth child would be 18.
However Mr Justice Coleridge decided that they should be named “sooner rather than later”.
Previous reporting restrictions have been posed over the identities of those involved in thise case to prevent their trials being prejudiced.
The Independent’s law editor Robert Verkaik writes today:
“Judges should stop acting like King Canute by trying to curb every excess of the internet and instead trust the jury to be able to maturely distinguish between online gossip and hard evidence adduced during a trial.”