Tuesday 20 February 2018

Man spared jail for tweet about child killer Jon Venables

Jon Venables, aged 10, at the time of his trial for the murder of James Bulger
Jon Venables, aged 10, at the time of his trial for the murder of James Bulger

Jan Colley

A man who tweeted images purporting to be of James Bulger's killer Jon Venables as an adult has been given a 14-month suspended prison sentence.

The term, suspended for 15 months, was handed down at London's High Court for a flagrant contempt of court on the part of 27-year-old security guard James Baines.

Baines, who is from Liverpool and close to the Bulger family, will also have to pay £3,000 in costs.

He admitted disobeying a January 2001 injunction binding on the whole world which prohibits the publication of any information purporting to identify the appearance, whereabouts, movements or new identities of Venables or Robert Thompson, who were convicted of the two-year-old's murder in November 1993.

It was made on the basis that the pair would face an acute risk of serious physical harm or death upon their release.

The case was referred by Attorney General Dominic Grieve after Baines put images purporting to identify Venables as an adult on his Twitter profile on February 14 this year - the 20th anniversary of the crime.

One image showed Venables in a school photograph as a child while below and alongside were different images of an adult male.

They were accompanied by the tweet: "Its on bbc news about the jon venables pic on twitter saying its been removed eerrm no it hasn't."

The Attorney General said in a statement: "It gives me no pleasure to bring a third case for breaching this injunction and I do so purely in the wider public interest.

"The order has been in place for many years and applies to both media organisations and individuals. It is meant not only to protect Venables and Thompson but also those members of the public who have been incorrectly identified as being either of them."

Press Association

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