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Derby Telegraph reporter wins bid to name school where teacher jailed for sex with pupil worked

A regional daily has named a school where a teacher jailed for having sex with a pupil worked after its reporter won the right to do so in court.

A judge at Nottingham Crown Court last Wednesday ruled it was in the public interest to name the school after Derby Telegraph reporter Martin Naylor argued there would only be a one in 675 chance of someone knowing who the victim was.

According to the Derby Telegraph, Mark Fidler, 49, worked as a music teacher at Belper School in Derbyshire when he had sex with a teenage pupil.

Fidler (pictured), from Heanor, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a girl while in a position of trust and one count of possessing 13 indecent images of the victim at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court last month.

The victim has automatic lifetime anonymity under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992.

Magistrates put an order on the case not to publish any details that could potentially identify the victim, but did not clarify whether this included the school where Fidler worked.

The Derby Telegraph therefore decided to wait until sentencing and challenge any application to extend the reporting restriction then.

Naylor made the clerk at Nottingham Crown Court aware the newspaper wanted to name the school and the prosecuting barrister subsequently made an application asking for a ban on doing so in case it identified the victim.

Naylor told Press Gazette he stood up in court and pointed out that the school’s website boasts 1,200 pupils and another 150 in its sixth form.

“I said that means assuming a 50/50 split between boys and girls it would mean any person who did not know the story or background would have a 1 in 675 chance of knowing who the victim was,” Naylor added.

“I also argued that the order is on place to protect the victim and not the defendant or the establishment where he worked.

“After hearing the representation, Judge [Steven] Coupland immediately ruled that we could name the school in the public interest and that by doing so it would not ID the victim.”

The newspaper pictured Fidler and named the school on its front page the next day.

Naylor added: “Standing up in open court as a reporter to challenge orders is something I have done many times before, sometimes with success but more often without, so it was rewarding to see the application thrown out.

“Even with my experience it is always daunting and slightly nerve racking to pit your wits against fully-trained legal representatives and, for want of a better phrase, win

“Open justice is a cornerstone of the legal industry and I would like to thank the judge for firstly hearing my representation and secondly ruling in our favour.”

Picture: Derbyshire Police

Derby Telegraph front page 8 August 2019

Comments

3 thoughts on “Derby Telegraph reporter wins bid to name school where teacher jailed for sex with pupil worked”

  1. Viewing such as a ‘win’ is what I would expect from gutter journalism. Within that community legal rulings are meaningless, many will know who the girl is, many will think they know. ‘Winning’ the right to publicise the school only empowers the latter to cause more suffering. But what does the gutter press care, their self righteous view of public interest deflects all criticism.

  2. I’m glad that a proper stand was made in this particular situation because it can have broader reaching implications with education or other that will overall have trickle down benefits.

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