Trinity Mirror and Others, Regina (on the Application Of) v Croydon Crown Court: CACD 1 Feb 2008

The defendant had pleaded guilty in the Crown Court to 20 counts of making or possessing child pornography. No direction was made for withholding the defendant’s identity in court, but the Crown Court made an order in the interest of the defendant’s children prohibiting any publication in the media of material identifying him or his children.
Held: The Crown Court had no power to make such an order.
It is an important aspect of open justice that defendants’ names should be made public. Sir Igor Judge P said: ‘This appeal succeeds on the jurisdiction argument; we must however add that we respectfully disagree with the judge’s further conclusion that the proper balance between the rights of these children under Article 8 and the freedom of the media and public under Article 10 should be resolved in favour of the interests of the child. In our judgment it is impossible to over-emphasise the importance to be attached to the ability of the media to report criminal trials. In simple terms this represents the embodiment of the principle of open justice in a free country. An important aspect of the public interest in the administration of criminal justice is that the identity of those convicted and sentenced for criminal offices should not be concealed. Uncomfortable though it may frequently be for the defendant that is a normal consequence of his crime. Moreover the principle protects his interests too, by helping to secure the fair trial which, in Lord Bingham of Cornhill’s memorable epithet, is the defendant’s ‘birthright’.
From time to time occasions will arise where restrictions on this principle are considered appropriate, but they depend on express legislation, and, where the Court is vested with a discretion to exercise such powers, on the absolute necessity for doing so in the individual case.
It is sad, but true, that the criminal activities of a parent can bring misery, shame, and disadvantage to their innocent children. Innocent parents suffer from the criminal activities of their sons and daughters. Husbands and wives and partners suffer all suffer in the same way. All this represents the further consequences of crime, adding to the list of its victims. Everyone appreciates the risk that innocent children may suffer prejudice and damage when a parent is convicted of a serious offence. Among the consequences the parent will disappear from home when he or she is sentenced to imprisonment, and indeed depending on the crime but as happened in this case, there is always a possibility of the breakdown of the relationship between their parents. However we accept the validity of the simple but telling proposition put by the court reporter to Judge McKinnon on 2 April 2007, that there is nothing in this case to distinguish the plight of the defendant’s children from that of a massive group of children of persons convicted of offences relating to child pornography. If the court were to uphold this ruling so as to protect the rights of the defendant’s children under Article 8, it would be countenancing a substantial erosion of the principle of open justice, to the overwhelming disadvantage of public confidence in the convicted and sentenced in them. Such an order cannot begin to be contemplated unless the circumstances are indeed properly to be described as exceptional.’


Sir Igor Judge P


[2008] EWCA Crim 50, [2008] 2 All ER 1159, [2008] 3 WLR 51, [2008] QB 770, [2009] EMLR 3, [2008] Crim LR 554, [2008] 2 Cr App R 1, Times 13-Feb-2008




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd and others v Regina and others CMAC 24-Oct-2008
Anonymity not to be by secret trial
The newspaper appealed against an order for the defendant soldiers’ trial to be held in camera.
Held: Section 94(2) could not be used to provide anonymity. The court relied on its common law powers under which: ‘for us to be entitled to make . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd and others v Soldier B CACD 24-Oct-2008
(Court’s Martial Appeal Court) The newspaper appealed against an order under section 94 of the 1955 Act restricting the identification of the defendants. The judge had said there would be a threat to both the safety of the defendants and as to the . .
CitedHarper and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Aldershot Magistrates Court Admn 8-Jun-2010
Police defendants not to have addresses withheld
The defendants, senior police officers were accused of misconduct in public office, being said to have sought improperly to interfere in prosecutions for speeding. They appealed against refusal by the magistrates to have their addresses protected. . .
CitedH v A (No2) FD 17-Sep-2015
The court had previously published and then withdrawn its judgment after third parties had been able to identify those involved by pulling together media and internet reports with the judgment.
Held: The judgment case should be published in . .
CitedPNM v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others SC 19-Jul-2017
No anonymity for investigation suspect
The claimant had been investigated on an allegation of historic sexual abuse. He had never been charged, but the investigation had continued with others being convicted in a high profile case. He appealed from refusal of orders restricting . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Media

Updated: 13 July 2022; Ref: scu.264418