Courier allowed to name boy killer before case starts

The Evening Courier, Halifax, won the right to name a 16-year-old youth accused of murder before his trial began at Leeds Crown Court.

The paper claims it was the only news organisation to have applied to have a Section 39 order lifted, despite the Yorkshire Post, the Press Association and a couple of national newspapers having been present.

Luke Rychter was convicted of murder after the court heard how he stabbed his friend Grant Douglass through the heart with a knife at a party.

Before the trial, the Courier argued in a letter why it was in the public interest to name the teenager.

News editor Geoff Fox said: "The Courier prides itself on being closely in touch with its readership and we, unlike virtually any other journalist in that courtroom, knew that a great many people in the district where this horrific stabbing happened were already fully aware of the accused's identity.

"In addition, we felt the gravity of the offence was sufficient to remove the element of anonymity."

When Judge James Stewart entered the courtroom, he said: "I have received a letter from the Evening Courier, the Voice of Calderdale," and went on to tell counsel what it was about.

Rychter's defence barrister quoted some terms of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and added: "But it is up to your discretion, your honour."

The judge decided to lift the order, but stipulated Rychter's address remain undisclosed and his image was not to be used until the conclusion of the case.

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