Kentish Express: covered story in full
Arguments by Jo Robertson, chief reporter of the Folkestone edition of the Kentish Express, persuaded magistrates sitting at the town’s youth court last week to allow the press to name a 13-year-old, who had breached an anti-social behaviour order made just 16 days before.
Danny Brown had an automatic right to anonymity in the youth court after he breached the order by punching a 14-year-old in the face.
In October, the magistrates making the order decided the press could name Brown to act as a deterrent and allow the public to keep an eye on him.
He had been accused of at least 27 offences including vandalism, harassment and theft.A
The Kentish Express was determined that his breach of the order and his broken promises should be reported in full.
Quoting from recently published reporting restrictions guidelines, Robertson told the court they should follow the rulings of the country’s most senior judges and Home Office advice that it was in the public’s interest to lift reporting restrictions when a youngster’s offending was persistent, serious and had affected the people in his community.
She said: "We told the court that not naming Danny would be an absurdity, especially after all of the publicity surrounding the original hearing.
"We also reminded the court of the hallowed principle that justice should be administered in public and open to full and fair reporting so people know what is being done in their name.
She continued: "And we relied on Article 10 of the European Conven-tion on Human Rights which protects our freedom of expression."
Defence solicitor Julian Rixon claimed that it would not be in Brown’s interest for his name to appear in the press and that it would be unfair to victimise him for the sake of "a good news story".
After lengthy deliberation, the magistrates decided to lift all reporting restrictions.
lThe Ashford edition of the Kentish Express offered a £5,000 reward to catch a brutal sex attacker who threatened to kill a 10-year-old girl as he raped her.
The reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the attacker, who ripped the girl’s clothes, slapped, raped and threatened to kill her during a 20-minute ordeal on 16 November, after she was helping out at a police-funded youth club.
Kentish Express editor Brian Lewis said: "This attack sickened and frightened an entire community. Like everyone else we feel obliged to offer any help we can."
By Jean Morgan