Trainee overturns no-names ban

overturning a court no-names ban at her fifth attempt.

Jamilia Al-amin has been at the Congleton Chronicle for just four months and has already found herself bidding to name youngsters convicted of breaching Anti Social Behaviour Orders five times. But magistrates always threw her arguments out of court.

She was finally successful this week when covering the case of a 15-yearold from Congleton. Daniel Dale had an ASBO taken out against him in October after magistrates heard he had been terrorising his neighbourhood.

Because he was appearing in a civil court, Dale had no automatic anonymity and the Chronicle was able to name him.

Since then, Dale has appeared in youth court on several occasions charged with breaching his ASBO.

When convicted in such cases youngsters do not have automatic youth court anonymity, but the Chronicle has been gagged by magistrates who used their powers to impose Section 39 orders.

Al-amin succeeded in naming Dale when he appeared in court again charged with breaching his ASBO this week. She said: “He had appeared a couple of weeks before and the magistrates gave him a severe warning — they said, ‘This time we are not going to let the press name you, but next time we are going to come down on you like a ton of bricks’.”

Al-amin approached the clerk at the start of a hearing with a letter from her editor detailing why Dale should be named. She recapped what had been said in the previous hearing and argued that the public had the right to know the identity of this persistent young offender.

After retiring to consider the argument, the magistrate consented and decided not to impose a Section 39 anonymity order. The story made the front page of the the Chronicle.

Al-amin said: “Hopefully this will encourage reporters who are being knocked back by the courts to persevere.

They will come round in the end.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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