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  1. Media Law
February 14, 2018

Judge lifts ban on naming dead child in court case after challenge from Kent Messenger

By Arun Kakar

A district judge overturned a Section 45 order banning the identification of a dead child after it was challenged by the Kent Messenger.

Reporter Guy Bell was at Maidstone Magistrates Court on Friday last week when the Order was given to prevent publication of the identity of one-month-old Freddie Lomas.

Defendants Danni Knowler, 19, and James Lomas, 20, are accused of causing unnecessary suffering or injury to the baby, who died in 2016. Both deny the charge.

The judge, who did not offer the media the opportunity to challenge the order, revoked the restriction when Bell asked for it to be reviewed.

Kent Messenger editor Denise Eaton said: “Guy was armed with a letter appealing the decision on the grounds that the order had been wrongly imposed, but it wasn’t necessary in the end as the error was realised and revoked immediately when questioned.

“The judge was very good-natured about it, even apologising to the reporter for the mistake, suggesting he may have detected hesitancy in his voice when making the order.

“Fortunately our reporter was there to challenge the restriction – otherwise the outcome may well have been different.”

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