Lawyers for James Bulger's killers fight to protect their identity

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The Independent Online

Lawyers for the killers of toddler James Bulger are today asking the High Court to maintain the secrecy surrounding them, even though both have now turned 18 and are no longer entitled to automatic protection.

Lawyers for the killers of toddler James Bulger are today asking the High Court to maintain the secrecy surrounding them, even though both have now turned 18 and are no longer entitled to automatic protection.

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson hope to win parole early next year, following a ruling by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, that they had served the minimum tariff necessary under their life sentences.

The boys, both 10 when they beat two-year-old James to death in February 1993, have served their sentences in secure local authority accommodation and are unlikely to be sent to a young offenders' institution or adult prison.

An interim injunction, granted in July, bans the media from taking or publishing photographs of them or reporting on their progress.

Both are believed to be terrified at the prospect of being thrown into the media spotlight.

Today's move to continue the injunction was being contested by media organisations.

In a hearing set for three days, Family Division President Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is facing the task of balancing the youths' right to privacy and family life under the European Human Rights Convention and the Human Rights Act against the media's right to freedom of expression.

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