Rape accused's address revealed


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Mar 23, 2002
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Dover, Kent, United Kingdom
A Crown Court judge has ruled that the address of a man accused of two rapes can be published.

The move comes after lawyers acting for Lee Cox, 23, decided not to continue an attempt to use human rights legislation to keep the details of where he lived a secret. Judge Paul Downes decided there was no reason to renew an order, made a week ago by magistrates in King's Lynn, Norfolk, which had been challenged by a number of media organisations, including the BBC.

The magistrates had banned journalists from revealing 23-year-old Lee Cox's address after his solicitor argued that publication of details could put the his family in danger.

Granting Mr Cox's application, presiding magistrate Ron Miller said threats had been made in the presence of police officers by at least one person who knew the victims of the alleged rapes. Mr Miller said there were fears that publication of the address could lead to acts of violence against Mr Cox's family. But on Monday, in a hearing at Norwich Crown Court, barrister Guy Ayers, representing Mr Cox, was told by Judge Downes that letters challenging the magistrates' order had been written by two local newspapers and the BBC.

Representatives from The Press Association and Anglia Television were also in court, ready to voice their opposition to the magistrates' order. After reading some of the objections, Mr Ayers said that he would not be making an application for the order to be renewed. He said the apparent threat against Mr Cox's family was no longer perceived to exist.

Journalists had argued that the right for the public to know the identities and addresses of people accused of crimes was a long established principle of British justice. They also argued that preventing them from giving such details meant that there was a danger of wrongly blackening the character of people with the same name as a defendant.

Mr Cox, of Cranmer Avenue, King's Lynn, Norfolk, is charged with raping a teenage girl in King's Lynn in December and raping a 43-year-old woman in King's Lynn in July. He is currently remanded in custody awaiting trial.