Judge overturns anonymity ruling in child sex case

Court
Court

A judge has overturned a ruling to grant reporting restrictions on a convicted paedophile, who had been living in Lurgan after representations were made by press as to the reasons for the anonymity order.

David Page (42) whose address was given as Ventry Lane, Belfast but who had been living for some time in Albert St, has a previous relevant record and was convicted on Monday of sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl, and breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) by having contact with a child without the prior approval of his designated risk manager.

A third count of child abduction was left on the court books.

The case was widely reported at the first court appearance last May, when Page refused to enter the dock.

A bail application was heard in his absence, but was refused.

There were a number of follow-up video-link remands during which no issue was raised as to reporting restrictions.

When Page was to be formally committed for trial he was, as it standard procedure in remand cases, brought to Craigavon Magistrates Court to appear in person on 4 October. However he refused to come to the courtroom and the hearing took place in one of the court’s cells.

During this process, District Judge Mervyn Bates granted reporting restrictions, despite details of the case, as disclosed in the bail application, being in the public domain for some time.

This was challenged by the Lurgan Mail soon after and later through the Lord Chief Justice’s office. On Monday, as Page’s case appeared before Craigavon Crown Court, Judge Patrick Lynch reversed the decision, ruling there was no reason for anonymity.

Read the Lurgan Mail this week for the full report.