Journal cleared over naming teenager

By Sarah Lagan

The Press and Journal’s publisher, Aberdeen Journals, has been
cleared of breaching the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act after it
named the teenager charged with the murder of schoolgirl Jodi Jones.

Scotsman Publications, publisher of the Evening News in Edinburgh,
which also named the then 15-year-old boy, is still awaiting its
verdict for the same charge. The Journal was originally cleared in
February after reporting that Luke Mitchell had been charged, but the
Crown appealed against the decision.

The paper had been charged under a section of the Act that states “no newspaper report of any proceedings in a court” should identify anyone aged under 16.

this year at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Paul Cullen QC argued that the
story, published in April last year, was not a report of the
proceedings in court and therefore did not breach the Act.The Crown
said “proceedings” were not restricted to the courtroom and
restrictions should be extended to cover any court business. But Cullen
argued that the wording in the Act was “quite clear and unambiguous”.

appeal judges’ ruling stated: “What is reported in the article was
undoubtedly brought about in response to earlier proceedings in a
court; but that does not mean, in our opinion, that the arrest and
charge by the police were themselves such proceedings.”

Press and
Journal editor Derek Tucker said: “The Crown’s case always seemed to be
a non-starter and they have simply wasted public money on what was
always going to be a lost cause.”

Mitchell, now 16, was jailed in
January for the murder of his girlfriend Jodi. A judge ruled Mitchell
could be named after his conviction

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