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Journalists win legal fight to reveal alleged terror group couple named baby Adolf after Nazi leader

Journalists fought a legal challenge to be able to report that a couple accused of being members of a banned far-right terror group had given their baby son the middle name Adolf, after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

An application was made last month at an early stage in the trial of Adam Thomas (pictured), 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, by Thomas’s defence counsel, Paul Wakerley, for an anonymity order for the pair’s child.

But, journalists persuaded Judge Melbourne Inman QC to reject the request.

Wakerley had sought to persuade the judge that the jury should not hear evidence that Thomas and Patatas had appeared in photographs with the baby in the context of their alleged support and celebration of extreme racism, such as the Nazi party or the Ku Klux Klan -and that they had given the baby the middle name Adolf.

He argued that the evidence, particularly relating to the name Adolf, should not be put to the jury because the court did not appear to have any power to stop the media reporting it, which he said would infringe the child’s right to privacy under article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Press Association reporter Richard Vernalls, advised by PA Legal Editor Mike Dodd, put a written submission to the court arguing that there was no way in which it could give the baby anonymity under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, because the child was not “concerned in the proceedings” in the manner required by the legislation.

In R v Croydon Crown Court, ex parte Trinity Mirror and Others ([2008] EWCA Crim 50; [2008] 3 WLR 51) the Court of Appeal had rejected the idea that the Crown Court had an inherent jurisdiction to restrict reporting of a trial or part of a trial on the basis that it would be seeking a desirable or just and convenient objective.

IN rejecting the application, judge Inman said: “In this case the baby cannot be said to be a victim. He is affected by what the prosecution say has happened, but is not a victim in a child respect of whom the proceedings were taken.”

The judge added: “It is for anyone seeking to derogate from open justice to justify the derogation by clear and cogent evidence.

“I am satisfied in this case that there are no grounds provided by law for the derogation from open justice here, and this evidence may be faithfully reported.”

He added that the prosecution had said that it intended only to produce photographs with the baby’s face pixellated out, and only to refer to the middle name of the baby – which meant that accurate reporting of that evidence would inevitably reduce the risk of the baby suffering any prejudice or damage.

Thomas and Patatas, of Waltham Gardens, Banbury, Oxfordshire, who had been described as “fanatical neo-Nazis”, were today convicted of being members of National Action, which was banned in 2016.

A third defendant, Daniel Bogunovic, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester, was also convicted of being a member.

Thomas, a twice-failed army applicant, was also convicted of having a terrorist manual, namely the Anarchist’s Cookbook, which contained instructions on making “viable” bombs.

Three other men who had been due to stand trial alongside the trio had admitted being National Action members before the trial began.

They were Thomas’s close friend Darren Fletcher, 28, of Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, West Midlands, Joel Wilmore, 24, of Bramhall Road, Stockport, Greater Manchester, and Nathan Pryke, 26, of Dartford Road, March, Cambridgeshire.

All the defendants are due to be sentenced at a hearing to start on 14 December.

Picture: West Midlands Police/PA

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