Eastern Daily Press loses bid to name convicted paedophile

By Sarah Lagan

The Eastern Daily Press has lost its battle to publish the identity
of a convicted paedophile after he was granted “complete anonymity” by
a Norwich court.

Norwich Crown Court judge Simon Bartham imposed a section 11 under
the Contempt of Court Act banning not only identification of the man
but also his address.

The order was made despite representations
by EDP assistant editor Paul Durrant citing previous cases of law where
judges had decided section 11 should not be used merely to protect a
defendant’s identity through fear of reprisal attacks.

The court
did not provide a reason for making the order. The only reference to
why the order was imposed was made during a magistrates’ remand
hearing, when the man’s solicitor referred to “exceptional” and
“sensitive” circumstances.

The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to
five counts of making, possessing and distributing more than 60 images
ofchildren that were found on his computer, one of which showed a girl
with her wrists and ankles tied up. He was sentenced to a year in
prison and the court heard he had been convicted for similar offences
in 2002.

Durrant said: “We have no idea why this gagging order
was made. Is it some-how a matter of national security? Is he a
supergrass? Are there fears for his safety? We have simply not been told.

“Yet
a man has been able to sail through the courts system without the
public knowing who he is and that is very worrying, particularly when
he is taken off the streets, deprived of his liberty and sent to jail.

“The
fact that all discussion about why this man should be granted complete
anonymity has taken place behind closed doors makes it impossible for
anyone to form a view on whether this is reasonable or proportionate
and flies in the face of open justice.

“The public has not even been given any reasons for the order. We are simply told to trust that ‘they know best’.”

Judge Barham directed the prosecution to apply for the section 11 order to be lifted when it was “deemed appropriate”.

However,
Durrant was told by the prosecution counsel it could take months or
even years and he would simply have to look out for the case on the
court sheet.

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