C had been arrested on suspicion of having committed serious sexual offences against children. Others had been arrested at the same time. At an initial hearing in the Magistrates’ Court, an order was made under s.4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 on 24 March 2012 prohibiting the disclosure of information that might identify C as the subject of pending proceedings until such time as he was charged with a criminal offence.
C was not charged, but others who had been arrested were, and their case proceeded to trial. In the course of the trial, C applied for a new s.4(2) order on 25 January 2013. A complainant had referred to an alleged abuser by a name which was the same as his, and the purpose of the application was for an order postponing publication of information which might identify C as the person referred to. The judge made a s.4(2) order, finding that there was a live investigation, and his order was varied on 4 February.
In the course of the application for the order, the fact of C’s arrest, and the nature of the offences of which he was suspected were read out in open court, but publication was prohibited by the s.4(2) order.
On 8 May 2013 The Times, D1, applied to lift the s.4(2) order of 4 February. C’s counsel and the Prosecution both opposed the application to discharge the order. At a hearing on 16 May 2013 the judge declined to discharge the order, stating that it might be appropriate to review the position at the end of September if no decision had been made whether or not to charge C.
On 25 July 2013 C was notified by the police that he was to be released without charge in respect of the offences for which he had been arrested, but that the case would be kept under review.
The matter came back before the judge at the end of September 2013, C seeking the continuation of the s.4(2) order, the Prosecution submitting that in the absence of pending or imminent proceedings there was no basis for the order to be continued, and D1 making the same submission.
C applied to the court for a privacy injunction to prevent him being identified in relation to the police operations which had led to seven convictions. On notification by C, D1 and the Oxford Mail, D3, replied stating that they wished to report the proceedings concerning the imposition and lifting of the order, relying on the public interest in such a report.