The press and media were today able to name a teenager who shot his 12-year-old sister dead at their family home with a gun which was illegally in his mother’s possession after a judge agreed to lift an anonymity order.
The Press Association and the Manchester Evening News handed in written submissions asking Mr Justice Holland to lift an order under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act which had until then given 17-year-old Kasha Peniston anonymity.
Peniston admitted the manslaughter of his sister Kamilah when he appeared at the court today. The Crown said it was accepting the plea as “appropriate” on the basis of gross negligence.
The two news organisations submitted the application shortly before yesterday’s hearing started after discovering that Peniston was to admit manslaughter.
Mr Justice Holland said he was “sympathetic” to the application and passed copies to prosecuting counsel Paul Reid QC and defence counsel Richard Marks QC so that they could consider them before making submissions regarding whether the order should be lifted.
Mr Reid said he supported the application.
Journalists argued that it would be in the public interest to name Peniston, because it would help highlight the the dangers of illegal firearms, and also because leaving him anonymous would make accurate reporting of the circumstances and family relationships of the victim, mother and brother, very complicated.
If the press were unable to identify Peniston, they would have to decide whether to leave his 33-year-old mother Natasha anonymous, but give the family relationships, or whether to name the mother but give no indication of the relationship between the killer and victim.
Journalists were given no opportunity to point out to the judge that Natasha Peniston had been named only weeks earlier in reports of a court hearing at which she admitted illegal possession of the snub-nosed .38 calibre revolver.
Mr Justice Holland agreeing to allow Peniston to be named, said: “Critical to me is the public interest and the public interest regarding the possession and use of illegal firearms in this particular matter.”
The court heard that Peniston killed Kamilah when he shot her in the forehead while playing with the revolver, which his mother had kept buried in the back garden of the family council house in Gorton, Manchester.