Sussex editors backed

Bradshaw and Briffett

 

Newsquest and Johnston Press are to marshal their corporate might in support of two Sussex editors appealing against convictions for breaching a section 39 order banning identification of a child.

Jim Brown, retiring chief executive of Newsquest, and Tim Bowdler, managing director of Johnston Press, are determined that the editors, Simon Bradshaw of The Argus, Brighton, and David Briffett, the retired managing editor of the West Sussex County Times, will get every help to clear the stain of criminal convictions on their characters, when their appeal is heard in the High Court at the end of this month.

The pair were convicted and fined £2,500 each at Haywards Heath Magistrates’ Court in March and ordered to pay court costs of £1,095 after the bench decided they had contravened an order banning the identification of a boy excluded from school.

Although the newspapers did not report the boy’s name, address or school, there were dates published which the bench decided allowed a number of people with "some knowledge" to identify him.

The convictions horrified the press because of the implications for reporting court cases involving children. Bradshaw spoke of the "chilling effect" on editors who would have to examine again whether cases involving section 39 orders could be reported at all.

By Jean Morgan

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