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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44874
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi, After much googling and going around in circles I have

Customer Question

Hi,
After much googling and going around in circles I have decided to ask my questions here. There are a couple of questions and they are related. Is the member of the public allowed to call the local newspapers and give someone's name legally? My son was recently arrested for a very serious crime and his first ever offence ( still to be proven...though ) and he is on remand. Someone he knew called the local newspapers the very next morning day after the alleged incident. I am not sure if the call was made before or after my son was charged. Either way is this legal? We know this person definitely made the call to the local newspapers as my sons solicitor has confirmed this to him. In face she was the one that brought this to his attention.
Also are the Newspapers obligated to give the name of the person who called them with information if called up and asked?....alongside the time of the call on that specific day etc...
Basically what I am trying to get across is that this information was leaked very early and I believe the police when they tell me that they did not share my sons information with the press.
Basically the point I am trying to make is that very early call to the press caused myself and family a lot of stress in many different ways. I myself have not been unable able to work since the 30th March as now too afraid to leave my home.
Basically I want to sue if I have a leg to stand on that is.
Any advice would be great or guidance in the right direction in regard to websites etc.
Many Thanks
L
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you know who may have given this information to the papers?

Customer : A so called friend of my 19 year old son. Also I feel that from all that I have learned so far that he was accessory and it is already confirmed that he called a friend the evening of the alleged incident to say that he thought my son was going to do something bad as he had been drinking and was behaving oddly. He didn't call the police though....but be is known to call the police over petty matters like " someone smoking for example " but he didn't call the police when he believed something bad might happen....
Customer : Hpwever he was happen to call the newspapers in the morning though....
Ben Jones :

did the papers print the name?

Customer : Yes they did...
Customer : smoking a joint I meant to say about the petty reports
Customer : Hi by the way Ben....sorry for just jumping back into the conversation without saying hello. I haven't slept much since 30th March or was it the 31st? It was Mother's Day....so lack of sleep is causing me to be careless in many thanks.
Customer : Many ways even...
Ben Jones :

No problem I understand the difficult position you are in. Now, the actual communication to the papers to provide the person’s name in itself is not unlawful. If someone was arrested for something then this is a factual matter so to provide the person’s details to someone else would not be unlawful. The police will have certain restrictions in relation to this so they cannot be the ones that automatically release the names of suspects and there are certain codes that they would have to abide by. However, in this case it was just another individual that did so and they can do it if they wanted to.

Your rights would therefore not be so much against the person who provided the name, but the papers that printed it. You can read an interesting article here on the effects of printing a person’s name before they have been formally charged or had their name released by the police:

http://www.inbrief.co.uk/media-law/media-identification-of-suspects.htm

As you can see the potential repercussions of printing someone’s name so early in the proceedings could mean that if they are eventually found guilty the papers could be liable for defamation, although this would only become clearer once the police have decided what further action to take.

Customer : Thanks Ben, i
Customer : I will have a look at this link and see what I can make of it.
Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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