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Court protects identity of accused child rapist

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

Scales of Justice

AN alleged child rapist has appeared in a court — but the Evening Post cannot tell you who he is after magistrates ordered the defendant's address be kept secret.

The man was charged with four counts each of raping a girl under 13, sexually assaulting a girl under 13, and causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempting to rape a girl under 13.

But Llanelli magistrates ordered his address could not be published, following representations from the defendant's solicitor, who claimed the defendant felt "in danger and threatened" because of the responses of people involved.

They cited Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act which allows a court to prevent publication of material arising out of proceedings in open court when publication would carry a substantial risk of seriously prejudicing justice. But in 1988, Lord Justice Watkins said: "Section 11 was not enacted for the benefit of the comfort and feelings of defendants."

As a result of the order, because the man has a common name, the Post feels unable to print it without an address to make the man's identity clear.

We cannot even say in which town or village he lives.

Media lawyer Sarah Branthwaite, of firm Foot Anstey, said of the court order: "Official guidance states orders such as this one should only be imposed in rare and exceptional circumstances. It is not appropriate to withhold a defendant's address from the public in order to protect a defendant's feelings or comfort."

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