PA reporter wins right to name 'binge-drink' parents

A couple who took their four-month-old son with them when they went on a seven-hour drinking spree have been named after a journalist challenged an anonymity order.

Magistrates at Mansfield made an order under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 prohibiting the publication of anything which would identify the baby when Mark Tyler and his wife Petra first appeared in court in November and admitted being drunk in charge of a child under the age of seven.

But when they appeared in court again on 4 December, Press Association East Midlands reporter Theo Usherwood challenged the order, arguing that it served only to protect the parents from publicity.

He drew the court’s attention to the reference to the use of section 39 in the guidance Reporting Restrictions in the Magistrates Court, issued by the Judicial Studies Board.

The booklet says: “Age alone is insufficient to justify the order. Courts have accepted that very young children cannot be harmed by publicity of which they will be unaware and therefore section 39 orders are unnecessary.”

Usherwood, who was also supported by the Mansfield Chad newspaper, told the court that the order only served to make the couple anonymous, was not in the interests of open justice, and that the baby, Callum, could not be affected by publicity as he was only seven months old.

Michael Little, defending, said the Tylers could be in danger of reprisals, which would also put the child at risk.

But the chairman of the Bench, Ron Foster, said: “The Bench have considered very carefully the requirements of the order but we do not believe that by lifting the order we will cause an undue risk to the child’s welfare.”

The court heard that Tyler, 46, and his 24-year-old wife, were spotted by a concerned landlord towards the end of a seven-hour bender on the afternoon and early evening of 23 September and asked to leave his pub.

Little told the court the couple had had “ongoing battles” with alcoholism, and had taken steps to deal with their problems.

The case was adjourned to 30 December.

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