Soham ban lifted

The Ely Standard has persuaded magistrates to lift a reporting restriction that stopped the press naming a baby girl assaulted by her father in Soham, the home town of murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

When Richard Brown was tried in January, Ely magistrates said the child should not be identified and imposed an order under Section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

But when Brown returned to court for sentencing on 4 February, Ely Standard reporter Elaine King applied for the ban to be lifted.

She argued the child could not be harmed by publicity she was unaware of and pointed out that a report of the trial in The Ely Standard could have given the impression that Brown had twice hit a child unknown to him.

Lifting the ban, presiding magistrate Christopher Taylor said: “Our decision rests on the interests of open justice against the likely impact on a two-year-old victim assaulted by her father if her name is published.

“People might think he was an abuser at large and for specific reasons in Soham that would be unsettling.

No harm is likely to be caused to the victim if she is named in the press.”

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