Bailiwick Express company fined £4K for naming court case child
THE parent company of Bailiwick Express has been fined £4,000 after admitting that the online newspaper identified a child involved in proceedings in a Jersey court.
James Filleul (44), director of Lighthouse Media CI Ltd, which runs Bailiwick Express, appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday after the offence was committed earlier this summer. He pleaded guilty to the offence.
Legal adviser Paul Lee, reading out the facts of the case for the prosecution, said that a case appeared in the Jersey courts involving a child and that Bailiwick Express published an article which named the child who was involved in the case – contrary to the Children (Jersey) Law 2002.
Under the law, it is an offence to publish ‘any material which is intended, or likely, to identify any child as being concerned in any proceedings before any court either as being a child against or in respect of whom the proceedings are taken or as being a witness in those proceedings’.
Mr Lee added that the story remained online until the Law Officers Department sent an email to the company around six hours after it was published. It was then removed from the website.
He added that Mr Filleul was interviewed by the police under caution and accepted he had published the child’s name.
Advocate Olaf Blakeley, defending, said that his client had been fully co-operative with the police and the Law Officers Department, had pleaded guilty immediately and had taken the offending article down as soon as he was instructed to do so. He added that other news reports had made the child’s name available and that an editorial decision was made to publish it to avoid public confusion.
Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris suggested that a safer approach would have been not to report the story.
Advocate Blakeley said that when the story was published, Bailiwick Express had sent an email to the Law Officers Department to ask them if they had any objections to how the story was written – something which he said they did often.
Mr Blakeley added that Bailiwick’s decision to publish the name was purely editorial, had not been motivated by any monetary gain and that the offending was at the bottom end of the scale.
In sentencing, Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said the fact that the information was already available did not constitute mitigation.
‘Mr Blakeley had made the point that the information was widely available on the internet but this is a Jersey Law and it only applies in Jersey. Two wrongs do not make a right,’ he said.
‘The defendant is a professional publisher and is aware of the law and has apparently had guidance from the Attorney General about other matters.
‘I do not think there is much mitigation in saying that other people have done it because this law is in Jersey and it is to govern Jersey entities’ conduct.’
Mr Harris fined the company £4,000.
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