Times caption: Tina Malone admitted breaching an injunction protecting the identity of Jon Venables (KIRSTY O’CONNOR/PA)
A piece in yesterday’s Times, emphases ours:
A soap actress and former Celebrity Big Brother contestant was yesterday given a suspended jail sentence after she tweeted about one of the killers of James Bulger.
Tina Malone, who has appeared in the television shows Shameless and Brookside, was charged with contempt of court in January after she posted what purported to be a photograph of Jon Venables, 35. A court order bans anyone from revealing the identities of Venables and Robert Thompson, who murdered James, aged two, in 1993.
Before standing down in 2017, the former lord chief justice, the most senior judge in England and Wales, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, had said that those in breach of the order relating to Venables were likely to be jailed for “substantial periods”.
In the High Court in London yesterday Malone admitted that she had breached the court order in social media posts made last year that contained information — including images — purporting to relate to Venables. However, the actress avoided jail as her prison term was suspended for two years.
Speaking after the hearing, Robert Buckland, QC, the solicitor-general: “The injunction in this case is intended to both protect the identities of the offenders, but also innocent individuals who may be incorrectly identified as them.”
Mr Buckland added that Malone’s posts had been “a very serious matter” that could have resulted in an immediate prison sentence. [J4MB: But only if the offence had been committed by a man, he could have added.] “I would urge everyone to think carefully about whether their social media posts could breach the order or amount to any other type of contempt of court,” he said.
The court order relating to those convicted of murdering the child in Liverpool prevents the publication of any images or information purporting to identify anyone as either Venables or Thompson, whether in print or online. The injunction applies to media organisations and to individuals. The terms of the order mean that if someone publishes a picture claiming to be of either men, even if it were not actually them, they would be in breach of the order. Providing details of the new identities of the men or their whereabouts is also prohibited.
When Malone received a High Court summons charging her with contempt of court in January, the actress Malone posted a plea on Facebook for legal assistance. “I need a lawyer ASAP! I’ve been committed to the high court,” she wrote. “Omg anyone know any free legal lawyer. I’m serious! Because I retweeted something!” [J4MB: We remind you that Tina Malone is 56, not a child.]
Venables and Thompson, who were both aged ten at the time, abducted James from a shopping centre in Bootle, Liverpool. The toddler was struck with a brick and sexually abused, suffering 42 injuries, many of them to his face and head.
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