Somerset County Gazette wins right to name brawl killing teenager

The Somerset County Gazette has won the right to name a teenager who delivered a fatal punch to a man in a street brawl earlier this year.

The Taunton-based Newsquest title persuaded Judge Graham Cottle, sitting at Exeter Crown Court, to lift an order under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 which had banned the media from naming Daniel Cain.

Cain, now 17, who was 16 at the time of the offence, and co-defendant Sean Wylds, 20, both of west Somerset, who were convicted of manslaughter in July, were given three-year custodial sentences on August 13.

The pair had launched an unprovoked attack on 36-year-old gardener Tim Chilcott in January, He was punched by Wylds then by Cain, suffering fatal head injuries when he fell to the ground.

At the time of the trial, the County Gazette faxed a letter to the court, setting out the paper’s arguments for an application to lift the order.

The letter, drawn up by news editor Alex Cameron, who used McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists as a reference, argued that Cain should be identified because of the public interest in knowing who has committed serious offences, as a deterrent to others, and in the interests of open justice.

When the jury convicted the pair, Richard Smith, defending Cain, asked the court to delay consideration of whether to lift the order.

When the issue was raised on August 13 he argued that Cain should remain anonymous because of concerns for the rest of the teenager’s family – his mother, stepfather and two young siblings, aged six and 10.

“What has come to light is a real concern for the rest of the family.

They will consider removing themselves from the area and the village if the name is revealed because they feel it will be detrimental to the young children,” he said.

Cameron told the judge that he felt it odd that the court was being asked to consider the family’s welfare, when Cain clearly had not done so when he committed the offence, and also quoted the case in which Mr Justice Elias had said that the effect that naming a convicted juvenile would have on on family members should not normally be a relevant factor to be considered by a court (Chief Constable of Surrey v JHG and DHG [2002] All ER (D) 308 (May)).

After Judge Cottle lifted the order, Mr Smith called on the media to report the case responsibly in light of concerns for the family.

County Gazette Editor-in-Chief Ken Bird said: “This is the first time the County Gazette has overturned a Section 39 Order.

“The judge came to the right decision. It’s not something we took lightly but we felt the public had the right to know who carried out this appalling killing.

“The case shocked the town of Minehead to the core and it was unjust that the identity of one of the defendants remained secret.”

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