Publicity ban on killers 'sets precedent'

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The Independent Online

Imposing a life-long ban on publicity about the killers of James Bulger would set a precedent for giving the same protection to others guilty of "detestable" crimes, the High Court heard yesterday.

Imposing a life-long ban on publicity about the killers of James Bulger would set a precedent for giving the same protection to others guilty of "detestable" crimes, the High Court heard yesterday.

Desmond Browne, QC, opposing an application for the bar on publicity about Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, said Moors Murderer Myra Hindley would be just one example of someone who would seek the same anonymity.

"It immediately strikes one as a paradox that the more detestable the crime the greater the claim would be to anonymity. That cannot be right," he said.

An interim injunction was granted in July banning publication of reports on or photographs of the boys, who were 10 when they beat two-year-old James to death on a railway line in Liverpool in February 1993.

Mr Browne, representing three newspaper groups opposing its extension, said the case was not "a one-off".

"There is a real likelihood that any decision to cloak these boys with anonymity and seek to preserve it with a court injunction will be creating a precedent," he said.

The hearing continues.