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November 8, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:44am

Media wins right to name 15-year-old killer as part of ‘necessary public debate on knife crime’

By PA Media and Press Gazette

A High Court judge has ruled a young killer should be named as part of “the necessary public debate on knife crime”.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker permitted the identification of 15-year-old Marcel Grzeszcz (pictured) after jailing him for the murder of 12-year-old Roberts Buncis on Monday.

Grzeszcz lured his victim to an area of woodland in Fishtoft, near Boston, Lincolnshire, on 12 December last year before attempting to decapitate him.

In his ruling at Lincoln Crown Court, the judge said identifying Grzeszcz would assist the “investigation” of knife crime and its “causes and prevention”.

An anonymity order had been placed on naming him under Section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which can allow a ban on reporting anything that could identify victims, witnesses and defendants under the age of 18.

Mr Justice Baker lifted the anonymity order after the PA news agency argued that naming Grzeszcz would act as a powerful deterrent.

Reach’s Lincolnshire Live website and Lincolnshire Echo and Target Series newspapers also challenged the anonymity order, arguing there were “significant public interest grounds for the naming of the defendant, the reporting of the murder case as a whole and the right for the public to be properly informed about the endemic knife crime, violence and drug dealing afflicting towns such as Boston”.

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Mr Justice Baker decided the importance of open justice outweighed any potential risks to Grzeszcz’s welfare.

He said: “I have no doubt that the circumstances of the offence are not only of proper interest to the public at large and within the local area, but also as forming part of the necessary public debate on knife crime in general, including the investigation of its causes and prevention.

“In this respect, not only do I accept that, without the press’s ability to identify the accused, the reporting of this offence would be less likely to be read by members of the public, but there is a significant risk that appropriate investigative reporting of its causes, responsibilities and preventative measures would be likely to be less effective, due to the risk of ‘jigsaw’ identification.

“Indeed, it seems to me that the submission on behalf of the accused, that the causes of the accused’s offending is multi-factorial, enhances rather than detracts from the need for appropriate investigative reporting in this case.

“Furthermore, I also accept that the naming of those guilty of such serious crimes has a significant part in promoting effective deterrence.”

Lincolnshire Live editor Natalie Fahy said: “We’re delighted our legal challenge in this instance was successful. It’s important that the public know who was responsible for this heinous crime and we thank the judge for considering our application.”

Following the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn of Lincolnshire Police said the case acted as a “stark and chilling lesson on the potential devastation of knife crime”.

He said: “The act was utterly senseless and the consequences devastating.

“It will be remembered by officers and staff as one of the worst and saddest cases we have ever dealt with.

“The level of violence, and that it involved children, makes it almost incomprehensible….

“We will educate and engage on knife crime and we will continue to relentlessly pursue justice for victims; as we do so, we will remember Roberts.”

Picture: PA Wire/Lincolnshire Police

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