Isn’t it a bit late?

I am no fan of Sally Bercow, considering her to be someone who has done little in life but engage in shameless self-promotion, but her latest ‘gaffe’ has left me more bemused with the law than with her.

Bercow, already on a list of those who wrongly named or linked former senior Tory Lord McAlpine to child abuse claims, sent a message on Monday night to her 60,000 followers on Twitter asking what happened to the teacher, Jeremy Forrest, 30, and reportedly naming the girl.


In the initial stages of dealing with his case, the court made a section 39 order under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, banning identification of the girl.

My question, for any lawyers who might be reading, is, given that her name was plastered all over the media for the 10 days or so after she eloped with Forrest, why bother with secrecy now? It’s not as if we don’t know who she is…


  1. macheath says:

    I’ve been wondering about this one. All I can think of is that the public are now expected to have memories so short that we have completely forgotten about the case (actually, as a teacher, I’m not sure the belief is entirely unfounded).

    It’s one of those interesting questions of knowing something while officially remaining ignorant of it – Orwell, of course, was there way ahead of us with that one.

    It does raise an interesting question for anyone whose archive currently includes the name – who is responsible if someone retrieves that information and re-posts or -tweets it in the original format? I have to admit, on first reading about this, I did have a quick check of my own to make sure.

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      Unless every news organisation or blogger pulls their articles and opinion pieces – and persuades the likes of the Wayback Machine to clear their memories – then it is certainly a possibility.

      Hence my original question: why bother concealing what everyone knows?

  2. SadButMadLad says:

    And if the court made such a determination, how the hell is the public going to know about who it applies to unless the court names the girl and says “Don’t talk about her anymore”. That is if the public knows about the order in the first place. It’s the first I had heard of it.

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      Hence the problem which Sally Bercow ran into. Potentially facing action for breaking a court order you know nothing about seems just a touch Orwellian to me.

      • macheath says:

        The only public clue that such an order is in place appears to be in the way news reports are phrased; as soon as someone is formally charged, this periphrasis comes into play, however many times the individual has been named before.

        Since all the media do it, it must be among the conventional restrictions that apply to the reporting of criminal cases and I suspect they are notified of such a court order immediately – the trouble is that twitter and blogging have turned us all into potential news publishers without the legal resources of the MSM to guide us.

  3. MathG, your complaint is primitive. Clearly you are unable to conceive of the government command: unthink.

    Unthink that and you will be safe – at least on that aspect, with respect to them.

    Though you might have to tell them, because they would not think of your ‘conversion’ (ie your unthink) for themselves. This is, most likely, because they are themselves indoctrinated against the risk of unthink.

    [Aside: we will do “unknow” in a previous comment.]

    Best regards