Magistrates agree to lift gagging order

By Sarah Lagan

The
Whitchurch Herald has overturned a court order which prevented it from
naming a 12-year-old boy, who lost both his legs in a road accident,
after gaining the support of his family.

Jordon Bright, from Torquay, was on holiday with his grandfather in
Whitchurch when the accident happened. The Herald subsequently
identified the boy in news reports and follow-ups recording his
recovery.

The paper had been instrumental in getting the avid
Manchester United fan a replica shirt signed by the team and sent to
him by Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, when a man was charged with
dangerous driving – which he denies – Market Drayton magistrates
decided to prevent Bright’s identification with a section 39 order.

Editor
Andrew Bowan argued his case in a letter to the Bench, saying that if
the ban was imposed it would theoretically prevent the paper from
mentioning the boy had lost his legs – something the Herald’s
readership would be aware of.

The paper gained the support of
Jordon’s parents and grandparents to name him in the story and argued
that the ban would only serve to protect the accused driver from facing
the full glare of publicity over the case.

Bowan said: “Like a lot of section 39 orders, this ban made no sense whatsoever.

Recruiting the parents’ support was simple and easy – and it quickly helped the Bench see the sense of our argument.

“Parliament
didn’t introduce section 39s to protect the defendant. Even if he is
found not guilty, naming the child should not affect him.”

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