Court of Appeal rejects anonymity challenge

Trial judge’s decision to identify 15 year olds upheld

On Friday 9 June 2017, the Court of Appeal gave a ruling in the course of an appeal against sentence on the identification of Stan Markham and Kim Edwards. Markham and Edwards were guilty of the murder of Edwards’ mother and younger sister, committed when they were 14.

Markham and Edwards had obtained a direction prohibiting their identification when they first appeared at the Magistrates’ Court under s.45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. This Order was continued at the trial of Edwards in relation to her plea of diminished responsibility (Markham already having pleaded guilty to murder).

On Edwards’ conviction, various Press organisations applied to lift the Order anonymising the pair. In a detailed ruling, the trial judge, Haddon-Cave J, granted the application but stayed his decision pending an appeal. Markham and Edwards applied for Judicial Review of Haddon-Cave J’s decision. Their application for permission was rejected on the papers, but granted at a hearing before Jay J. The press intervened in the Judicial Review, and charity Just for Kids Law were also subsequently granted permission to do so.

When the Court of Appeal (Sir Brian Leveson, Blake J and Lewis J) heard Markham and Edwards’ appeals against sentence, the Court also dealt with the question of anonymity, deciding that the appeal superseded the full Judicial Review hearing with the result that the proceedings in the Administrative Court became academic. The Court upheld Haddon-Cave J’s decision that Markham and Edwards should be named, and dismissed the Judicial Review challenge to it.

A 5RB case comment can be found here.

Gervase de Wilde of 5RB, instructed directly by Martin Wood of Associated Newspapers Ltd and then by RPC, acted for the media parties before Haddon-Cave J, and in the Judicial Review proceedings.