O'Riordan fined for naming 12-year-old

By Alyson Fixter

The editor of Marie Claire has been fined £2,500 after losing her
appeal against a conviction for naming a 12-year-old sexual assault
victim.

Marie O’Riordan was handed the fine in August last year following a
story about a schoolgirl who ran away to Germany with a 30-year-old
former US marine in July 2003.

Although the girl was widely named
in the national press at the time of the disappearance, the police then
arrested the man on charges of incitement to gross indecency and warned
the media that the girl’s identity was protected by law from then on.

However,
as Marie Claire had not previously contacted the police about the case,
the magazine was not on the mailing list for the message. Four months
later in an end-of year review, the magazine wrote that the girl had
been reunited with her family, naming her and including her photo.

O’Riordan was convicted at Bow Street Magistrates Court in August last year of breaching the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act.

At
the appeal in the Queen’s Bench Division administrative court, Lord
Justice Rose said the magazine should have made its own inquiries into
whether there were any restrictions in place on identifying the girl.

He
added: “It seems to me very little to ask of the media that they take
precautions to prevent publications which might affect a 12-year-old
victim in circumstances such as these”.

O’Riordan had told police that she had no idea that there were court proceedings taking place.

Her
defence said that the girl had not been identified as a victim of a sex
offence because it was not publicly known that the former marine was
being tried for the crime until months after the publication date of
the Marie Claire issue.

O’Riordan was on holiday and uncontactable as Press Gazette went to press. Owners IPC declined to comment.

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