PA persuades High Court to name schoolboy rapist

By Roger Pearson

Journalists
this week successfully persuaded a judge to name a schoolboy who raped
his teacher when she was alone in a classroom.

Heavily built,
5ft 11in tall Dwayne Best, who committed the offences when he was 15
but is now 16, was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey
earlier this month after pleading guilty to the rape.

The attack
happened at Westminster City School for boys and left the 28- year-old
teacher with a black eye, 18 stitches and post traumatic stress.

Initially
the judge who dealt with Best ruled that he should not be named because
of his age, but that ban was lifted by a second judge.

This week
lawyers for Best argued at the High Court before Lord Justice Kennedy
and Mr Justice Walker that the second judge had been wrong to lift the
ban.

Jeremy Dein QC argued that naming Best would have a negative
impact on the teenager, and pointed out that the victim had not asked
for him to be named. But Lord Justice Kennedy said there was
“deterrence value of naming the offender and the strong public interest
in open justice.”

In written representations to the court, Press
Association legal editor Michael Dodd said: “This is not simply a
question of so-called ‘naming and shaming’, but a matter of placing on
the public record and in the public domain the identity of a young man
who has admitted raping a teacher, in his school and who has been
described as dangerous by two psychiatrists.

“The attack on the teacher by Dwayne Best took place in a classroom

at
the school where she worked and he was a pupil. It is surely a matter
of the gravest public interest that this case should be given the
fullest coverage.

“He has to go on to the Sex Offenders’ Register and
the public, particularly those who might in future come into contact
with him, have the right to know about his past and his behaviour, even
if only because this information will at least enable them to take some
steps to protect themselves.

“It is easy to decry the motivation of newspapers or broadcasters when they ask courts to lift section 39 orders.

Prurient
curiosity or the desire to subject juveniles to public opprobrium are
said to be the driving forces behind such applications, as if the Press
were itself incapable of any higher motive, such as defending the
principles of a free press, and of open justice.

“The Press
Association asked Judge Moss to lift the Section 39 order because it
takes the view that it is in the public interest for a juvenile who has
committed a violent sexual offence, and who is said to present a
current and future threat of further sexual violence, to be properly
identified.”

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