Mr Justice Keith today decided that the names of ‘the torture boys’ should never be made public.
Although the victims’ families understandably wanted the brothers to be named, the media did not. Not one national media outlet requested that the order restricting the publication of the boys’ identities be lifted.
Giving his reasons Mr Justice Keith said that the boys themselves would be ostracised by their fellow inmates, should their identities become known. He added it could lead to the units they are being held in coming under siege from the media. He also highlighted his worry that other parents would ask for their children to be transferred so as not to be held in the same unit as such notorious offenders, thus putting strain on other units around the country.
The boys’ family were also cited as a reason for keeping their anonymity. Mr Justice Keith said the family would be pursued by the media and wider public if the names were widely known.
And he said that the boys’ own rehabilitation could suffer. The judge added: “It would have an adverse impact on any incentive they might have to progress their own rehabilitation.”
It is likely that the brothers will be given new identities when they are eventually released, as was the case with Robert Thompson and John Venables.
The judge said that it was “legitimate” to ask why, if their names will be changed anyway, should their current identities be protected? He said that although new identities were possible, they were “way down the line” and so should not be taken into consideration with regards to the Section 39 order which remains in place.Reuse content