Court told it would be 'unfair' to prosecute editor for naming boat-crash youth because port authority also breached order

Pembrokeshire Herald editor Thomas Sinclair

A court heard it would be “unfair and oppressive” to prosecute the editor of a local newspaper in Wales for naming a youth in a news report, contravening a court order.

Thomas Sinclair, 37, is charged with breaching Section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act which bans the identification of anyone under 18 concerned in youth court proceedings.

Sinclair, of Hamilton Terrace, Milford Haven, Wales, named a young fisherman who crashed his boat in a report in The Pembrokeshire Herald newspaper on 12 February.

No-one from the weekly title had been in the court, instead the report was written from a press release published by prosecutors the Milford Haven Port Authority.

The Herald claimed Matthew Paul, representing Sinclair, told Llanelli Magistrates’ Court that the Crown Prosecution Service had not brought charges against the port authority, despite them also breaching the order.

He said their release, which was published on their website, had stated the youth’s place of work, making it easy for them to be identified.

The Section 49 order states that reports of proceedings in youth courts must not contain “any particulars likely to lead to the identification of any child of young person involved in the proceedings”.

District Judge Simon Morgan ruled the CPS should be given time to consider whether the prosecution against Sinclair was in the public interest, in light of the fact they had chosen not to prosecute the port authority.

The case has been adjourned for 28 days and will resume on 10 October. Sinclair has not submitted a plea.

Speaking afterwards, Sinclair said: “I do not want to see The Port of Milford Haven prosecuted, what I want is for the CPS to come to their senses and drop this case.”

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