By Sarah Lagan
Three regional newspapers have won a landmark legal battle in the Appeal Court to name two paedophiles.
The recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Peter Fox, had imposed a
Section 39 order preventing the Isle of Wight County Press, the
Middlesbrough Evening Gazette and the Northern Echo naming the two
defendants or reporting on the case under the Children and Young
Major Andrew Shaw, an executive officer in the
Cleveland Army Cadet Force, was jailed for 10 years in February after
offering a schoolgirl for sex over the internet. Another man, Alan
Lawson, was found guilty of conspiracy to rape a girl and jailed for
eight years. Both had admitted they distributed child pornography.
When asked to lift the ban, the judge sent back a short note saying he would not correspond further on the matter.
The newspapers went to appeal. Their
lawyers argued that naming the defendants was both in the public
interest and in the interests of open justice and that the order could
only be used to protect children or young people in the proceedings.
three senior judges agreed, citing the case of Godwin in 1992, when
Lord Justice Glidewell said Section 39 as a matter of law does not
empower a court to order the banning of publication of defendants’
names. The Court of Appeal ruled that Judge Fox’s order “flew in the
face” of the previous Godwin case law.
Lord Justice Maurice Kay
said: “It is common ground that the embargo on reporting of the
proceedings as expressed in the first sentence of the order could not
lawfully be included in the order.”
The newspapers’ editors are
unhappy as they have had to pay more than £10,000 costs between them.
In a joint statement, they said it was an issue of public interest that
the defendants should be named.
Julian Pike, of law firm Farrer and Co, acted for the papers and they were represented in court by barrister Anthony Hudson.
Pike said: “It should have been a very straightforward case, but the papers have been through an uphill struggle.
have had to pay considerable costs, which they cannot recover, for in
effect having to police erroneous orders made by the court.”