Attorney General in contempt move over images purporting to show Bulger killers


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The Independent Online

The Attorney General has decided to bring contempt proceedings against individuals who allegedly posted online photographs purporting to show James Bulger killers Jon Venables or Robert Thompson.

Images purporting to be of Venables or Thompson appeared online and were subsequently removed.

Robert Thompson, along with Jon Venables, were convicted of killing two-year-old James Bulger in Merseyside in 1993 in a crime that shocked the nation.

There is currently a worldwide ban on publishing anything that might reveal Venables' current identity.

Following the appearance of the images the Attorney General Office (AGO) said he could not confirm or deny whether the pictures were of Venables.

At the time the AGO said: "The AGO has been alerted to a possible contempt of court. We are liaising with the Ministry of Justice and others to establish the facts.

"More than one police force is now involved in the investigation."

He added: "It should be noted, there is a worldwide injunction in place which prevents the publication of any images or information purporting to identify anyone as Jon Venables."

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, of the High Court Family Division, made an unprecedented court order banning publication of any information which could lead to the revelation of their new identities.

A statement from the Attorney General's Office said: "The terms of the order mean that if a picture claims to be of Venables or Thompson, even if it is not actually them, there will be a breach of the order.

"Providing details of the new identities of Venables and Thompson or their whereabouts is also prohibited - this order applies to material which is on the internet.

"There are many different images circulating online claiming to be of Venables or Thompson - potentially innocent individuals may be wrongly identified as being one of the two men and placed in danger.

"The order, and its enforcement, is therefore intended to protect not only Venables and Thompson but also those members of the public who have been incorrectly identified as being one of the two men."

Breaches of the order may be a contempt of court punishable by a jail sentence or fine, the statement said.