Anorak News | The McCanns And Section 97 of the Children Act 1989

The McCanns And Section 97 of the Children Act 1989

by | 12th, August 2008

MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann

Carmen writes: “This decision may well bite the McCann’s on the bum one day…”

A failed private prosecution over an alleged breach of Section 97 of the Children Act 1989 had a curious outcome.

Section 97(2) prohibits publication of any material which is intended, or likely, to identify any child as being involved in proceedings under the Children Act.

A mother involved in such proceedings in relation to her child took part in a protest by campaign group Fathers 4 Justice in front of TV cameras and was named in a subsequent report in the Daily Mail.

She began private prosecutions against editor Paul Dacre and Mail owners Associated Newspapers, claiming the report was likely to identify her child contrary to Section 97(2), but the case was quashed by the Divisional Court as an abuse of process.

Lord Justice Latham said: “The fact that the Daily Mail may have been in breach of Section 97 itself does not mean that she can properly complain.

“It seems to me to be a clear case where the court’s conscience is offended by the fact that the prosecution is brought by a person who by her conduct was likely, if not certain, to identify the child as being the subject of proceedings to which Section 97 applied.”

There was no sign of the Director of Public Prosecutions taking over the prosecution in the public interest.

The result seems to be: Who cares if the media identify children in breach of Section 97, if a publicity-seeking parent has already done so?


Posted: 12th, August 2008 | In: Reviews Comments (38) | TrackBack | Permalink