Paper names rapist after jigsaw ident plea

A judges’ order banning a confessed rapist from being identified was lifting after representations from Rotherham Advertiser editor Doug Melloy.

Jack Rees pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault and Yorkshire weekly previously identified Rees in a report following an earlier hearing.

An order by Judge Jacqueline Davies at Sheffield Crown Court imposed anonymity for both the victim and Rees as sentence was adjourned in October after he admitted the offences on the day of his trial.

But this week Judge Simon Lawler, at the same court, overturned the ruling after reading a letter from the newspaper and allowed journalists to identify the defendant.

In a letter to the judge Melloy said: “Serious sexual offences are a matter of significant public interest and it is well understood that offenders should be dealt with as openly as possible.

“Judge Davies’s decision was unusual, as normally such orders are issued to prevent anything being published which could identify the victim and in some cases witnesses.

“It allows the defendant to be named, but the complainant is neither identified nor the relationship to the defendant revealed, in line with industry guidelines agreed with the courts and the Press Complaints Commission‘s Editors’ Code.

“The guidelines are to avoid ‘jigsaw’ identification in reports by more than one newspaper or broadcaster.

“In this case earlier reporting by the Rotherham Advertiser without restrictions had allowed the defendant to be named, making his identity a matter of public record.

“As his name is already in the public domain an anonymity order at this stage makes it virtually impossible to report the outcome of the case without causing ‘jigsaw’ identification and is in conflict with the public interest.”

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