S39 Order victory for Scarborough reporter

Scarborough Evening News reporter Richard Harris successfully challenged a court order imposed in a case involving cruelty to a baby.

In a letter to Judge Paul Hoffman, at York Crown Court, the reporter argued that a Section 39 Order banning the naming of a six-month old child should not be implemented. He quoted the Judicial Studies Board, which in 2001 said: “Age alone is insufficient to justify the order. Courts have accepted that very young children cannot be harmed by publicity of which they will be unaware and therefore S39 orders are unnecessary. Any adverse publicity is likely to have been a thing of the past before the child would even be aware of it.”

Harris said the order, which had been imposed by magistrates, would help protect the defendants rather than the child. As a result of the order being lifted, the paper was able to run a picture of the parents.

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