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Defendants ‘can be named on turning 18’

19 Jan 2024 / courts Print

Defendants ‘can be named on turning 18’

The Court of Appeal has ruled that children who are before the courts for criminal offences can be named once they turn 18, if the proceedings are still ongoing.

A stay has been put on the lifting of reporting restrictions, however, to allow an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The court was giving judgment in the case of a youth who murdered student Cameron Blair in Cork in 2020. The youth was 17 when pleading guilty, but is now 21.

2001 act

The Court of Appeal had dismissed an appeal against the conviction in December, but had sought submissions on whether the youth could be identified.

The case centred on a previous interpretation of section 93 of the Children Act 2001 that held that the rules protecting the identity of child offenders still applied when that person appeared before the Court of Appeal having reached the age of 18.

Delivering judgment, however, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said that no provision of the act "provides for an extension of reporting restrictions and anonymity to those who age out before proceedings conclude. Reporting restrictions are expressly limited to those under the age of 18 years."

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