Magistrates have lifted a Section 39 Order banning the naming of a three year old girl who was a victim of neglect, following a challenge by a regional newspaper.
Chester magistrates accepted an argument from Wes Graham, deputy editor-in-chief of Trinity Mirror Cheshire, that a three-year-old was probably too young to suffer as a result of having her identity revealed.
It follows a number of recent cases where orders stopping the press identifying babies have been lifted, on the basis that publicity would not have a detrimental effect on them.
The child’s mother, Jayne Kimberley Cottrell, has been ordered to serve a six-month rehabilitation order after 20 separate injuries, bruising and cuts were found on her young daughter’s body.
Magistrates made a Section 39 Order at the first hearing to protect the girl from being identified which effectively meant the Chester Chronicle could not name the defendant and made it impossible for the newspaper to present the full facts of the case to its readers.
Magistrates, at the request of the Chronicle, agreed to recall the prosecution and defence so that Graham could submit an application for the order to be lifted.
He told the court he believed identification of the mother would highlight the seriousness of the matter and act as a deterrent.
Graham also told the court the Chronicle had felt unable to report the case, even in an abbreviated form, because the charge of neglect would indicate the likelihood of the defendant being a parent.
Defence solicitor Mark Macloskey said he was concerned that, because the child was three years old and attended pre-school nursery, she could be detrimentally affected by publicity However, the magistrates supported th e Chronicle’ s application for the order to be lifted.
Graham said: “The magistrates decided that, despite the child being at nursery, people would be more likely to be in sympathy with her and inclined to look out for her, rather than stigmatising her in school”