“Cannot be named for legal reasons…”

L to R Matuesz Zatlokiewicz, Daniel Blackstock, Courtney Boothe-Phillips

Anyone familiar with reading court stories or watching reports of them on TV will familiar with this phrase.
In a nutshell it means the court has imposed a reporting restriction on naming somebody involved in proceedings whether a victim, witness or a defendant.

Reasons for such restrictions vary but are usually because:

  • a person is under the age of 18. Previously known as a S.39 order, but since April 2015 falls under S.45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act.
  • The person is a victim of a sexual offence  and receives automatic lifelong anonymity.
  • An order is made under the Contempt of Court Act to prevent prejudicing future hearings ( much rarer than the first two!).

Sometimes however, as in this case, a decision is taken not to name a person involved in the case by a reporter and news editors.

The robbery in this case, which saw hefty sentences for those involved, left the victim understandably traumatised after being threatened and tied up in her own home.
While she was able to attend court to see the trio (pictured above) jailed, it was clear from a victim impact statement she had been left living in fear by what had happened to her.

Efforts during the sentencing hearing were made not to identify the victim’s address (or even the area in which she lived), although she was named in open court which could, in practice, be reported.
After consideration it was decided her name would not be included in the report.

Sometimes victims don’t want anonymity. They want to speak out about what they have been through, but it’s not a one-size-fits all. In this case I think we took the right decision and hope the victim is able to move on now her attackers have been brought to justice.