Reporter stops Section 39 order

A trainee reporter from the Worcester Evening News blocked a court order banning the identification of a twoyearold assault victim.

Sundeep Kumar, who joined the Newsquest daily last February, had just attended a court case in which a father was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend and son during a drunken row.

After the magistrates had left the courtroom, the clerk commented that they had forgotten to pass a Section 39 order to protect the child’s identity.

Kumar told the clerk he would be opposing the Section 39 and when they returned, addressed the court. He quoted three examples from MacNae’s Essential Law for Journalists where Section 39 orders made for very young children were overturned.

He said: “The CPS prosecutor agreed with me, saying a Section 39 order would severely restrict my report, and that it would shield the defendant from publicity.

“The magistrates considered this and decided not to pass the order. I’m glad I took my MacNae’s to court with me.”

Editor Stewart Gilbert said: “This is another perfect example of our reporters being better versed in newspaper law that the magistrates or their clerks.

“Well done to Sundeep for taking the bold step of speaking up in the courtroom and allowing good sense to prevail.”

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