A judge has refused to lift an order banning newspapers from naming a convicted paedophile in case it would embarrass his family.

In a highly unusual move Judge Warwick McKinnon barred the press from identifying a 45-year-old Upper Norwood man who had hundreds of child pornography pictures on his computers.

Last Monday the man pleaded guilty to 20 charges of making and possessing indecent images of children, some of them no more than four years old.

Judge McKinnon imposed a community order coupled with three years supervision and directed that the man attend a sex offenders' work programme run by the probation service. He described the images as "revolting and repulsive".

When the man first appeared in court last month, Judge Kenneth Macrea, at the request of Miss Adkin, made a Contempt of Court order forbidding publication of his details.

Last week Croydon senior resident Judge McKinnon heard an application in open court from freelance reporter Bill Bailey that the order be lifted.

This was refused after Miss Adkin said the man had two daughters who would be seriously affected by the publicity.

Judge McKinnon told the court he was willing to consider written requests regarding the order but reporters would not be able to appeal against it verbally.

Despite written arguments from lawyers representing the Croydon Guardian and other papers Judge McKinnon today stuck to his guns arguing he needed to protect the man's two daughters.

He said while he understood there was a public interest in reporting the case the court would not lift the order.

Judge McKinnon said: "Whilst it is recognised that there is a legitimate and important interest in the freedom of the press to report court proceedings in full, and whilst it is recognised also the general revulsion, anxiety and intensity of feelings over offences involving any element of paedophilia and the abuse and ill-treatment of children in whatever form, the court, upon the application of the defendant and unopposed by the Crown, and taking into account certain oral representations of the freelance press and written representations from Time Mirror PLC, Newsquest Newspapers Ltd and the Press Association, and considering in particular the relevant principles under the Human Right Act, and issues of proportionality, makes the following order under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981."

Simon Westrop, Croydon Guardian's parent company Newsquest's head of legal affairs, said: "Obviously, we're disappointed that the judge has not responded as we expected to our invitation to withdraw the order. With all due respect to the court, we still consider that the judge is mistaken in law and we now have to consider our options.

"The effect of the order is to prevent the identification of a man convicted of serious offences. This is contrary to the principle that justice should be conducted openly.

"I can understand the court's sympathy for the convicted man's children.

However, it is our view that the Crown Court simply has no power in law to issue such orders for the protection of children who are not involved in the proceedings.

"If the court's view is followed, then the unacceptable outcome would be that every convicted criminal who happens to have children will demand anonymity and the legal system will become a secret process."

  • What do you think? Should the order have been lifted?