The Sun has been charged with breaching reporting restrictions in its reporting of a preliminary court appearance for a man who killed a two-year-old by causing a gas explosion.
The paper is alleged to have twice breached the reporting restrictions under Section 52A of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 by publishing a written report of the court hearing at Oldham Magistrates' Court on 10 September last year which contained information other than that allowed by the Act, a police spokesman said.
The report concerned a hearing at which Andrew Partington was sent for trial at Crown Court on a charge of murdering two-year-old next-door neighbour Jamie Heaton and eight charges of destroying houses in Buckley Street on June 26 last year.
Partington was jailed for 10 years at Manchester Crown Court on 19 February after admitting that he killed the child and wrecked other terraced houses in Shaw, Oldham, when he blew up his house after a furious row with his partner, who had walked out on him.
The restrictions, inserted into the 1998 Act by Schedule 3 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, replace those under section 8 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, which restrict reports of committal hearings in magistrates' courts to basic details and prohibit reporting of what is actually said in court.
The new restrictions, which are almost the same as those under the 1980 Act, are in force in those areas where committal hearings have been replaced by the new procedure under which serious offences are simply sent or transferred from a magistrates' court to the Crown Court.
The new procedure is now in force across large areas of England and Wales, and the Ministry of Justice has said it is intended to have it in force in the remaining areas by the end of the year.
Breaching the section 52A restrictions is punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine of up to Level Five on the Standard Scale,currently £5,000.
The case is scheduled to come up at Manchester City Magistrates' Court on 5 Apri.