Tuesday 19 March 2019

Tina Malone avoids jail for contempt of court over Bulger killer Facebook post

The Shameless star shared a post on Facebook in February last year which purportedly included an image and the new name of Venables.

Actress Tina Malone leaves the High Court in London where she avoided jail after she admitted breaching an injunction protecting the identity of James Bulger killer Jon Venables by sharing a post on social media. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
Actress Tina Malone leaves the High Court in London where she avoided jail after she admitted breaching an injunction protecting the identity of James Bulger killer Jon Venables by sharing a post on social media. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
Tina Malone has been sentenced for contempt of court (Lauren Hurley/PA)

By Sian Harrison and Sam Tobin, Press Association

Actress Tina Malone has narrowly avoided jail after she admitted breaching an injunction protecting the identity of James Bulger killer Jon Venables by sharing a post on social media.

The High Court heard that she shared a post on Facebook in February last year which purportedly included an image and the new name of Venables.

She was handed an eight-month suspended sentence by Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett on Wednesday.

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Police handout photo of Jon Venables (left) and Robert Thompson (PA)

The court heard she was suffering with mental health problems when she shared the post and that she is the main carer for her five-year-old daughter and elderly mother.

Police handout photo of Jon Venables (left) and Robert Thompson (PA)
Police handout photo of Jon Venables (left) and Robert Thompson (PA)

Lord Burnett, sitting with Mr Justice Warby, said: “We have concluded that, although the custody threshold is undoubtedly passed in this case, the personal circumstances and mitigation of this defendant are such that we should impose a suspended committal order.

“Taking account of everything that we have heard, we order that the defendant be committed to prison for eight months, but we suspend that order for two years.”

The judge said that, if Malone committed another contempt of court within two years, she would be jailed for eight months plus any additional sentence she may be given for the further offence.

Malone’s barrister Adam Speker told the court that, on reflection after giving evidence, the 56-year-old accepted that she was in breach of the injunction.

He said she understood that Venables had been given anonymity for his protection.

The Shameless star told the court she was not aware that she was doing anything wrong when she shared the post.

A court order was made “against the world” in 2001 which bans the publication of anything that purports to reveal the identities of Venables and Robert Thompson.

They have been living anonymously with new identities since being released from a life sentence for the kidnap, torture and murder of James in 1993, when they were both aged 10.

Press Association

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