Manchester-based news agency Cavendish Press intervened in a Crown Court case after a judge ruled that a man on trial for rape could not be named under the Children and Young Persons Act.
Judge Adrian Lyon at Manchester Crown Court agreed to defence counsel’s request for a Section 39 order preventing identification of 18-year-old rape suspect Martin Hoyle, even though the law only applies to defendants aged 17 and under.
Counsel had argued that as Hoyle was only 16 when the rape took place, he was entitled to anonymity.
But Cavendish news editor Jon Harris immediately wrote a letter to the judge asking for “clarification” after the blip was pointed out by regular court reporter Alison Pilkington.
And after reading the letter Judge Lyon thanked Pilkington and agreed to tear up the order.
Hoyle was later convicted of raping a 73-year-old woman in her Rochdale home.
Pilkington said later: “The order was made after the prosecution opened its case and while I was out of court.
“The junior defence barrister in the case was good enough to ring our office to tell us about the Section 39 order but within minutes we realised it was something the judge could not make.
“Even when I went up to court to try and clarify things verbally the defence barristers insisted Hoyle was entitled to anonymity because he was 16 at the time of the offence.
“When the judge read our letter he said he would tear up the order unless the barristers could think of a good reason why the defendant could not be named. Naturally they could not.”