The teenage boy who stabbed Samuel Baker to death in the street cannot be named by the press due to a court order – but The Star attempted to have this lifted, in the hope it may stop more crimes like this from being committed on the city’s streets.
The order, which falls under Section 45, of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, was placed on case due to the defendant’s age – he was just 15 at the time of the fatal stabbing.
Among a number of arguments submitted as part of the bid to remove the restriction, that was heard before Mr Justice Nicklin today, The Star argued that naming the defendant could act as a deterrent.
The application stated: “The Star feels that publicising full details of this case, including the names of both boys involved, will have more of an impact on those in the community, and may act as a deterrent to stop incidents of this nature taking place in the future. This was a notorious crime that shocked and appalled many in the community.
“Identifying the defendant will help to maintain the public’s confidence in the justice system.”
We also argued that while Samuel Baker’s name could be included within a court report that details his previous criminal behaviour, and may tarnish his reputation in the minds of right-thinking members of society, the identity of the boy who killed him would be protected.
Mr Justice Nicklin rejected the application to lift the restriction.
When setting out the reasons for his decision, he told the court: “Power to dispense with the order must be exercised with great care, caution, and circumspection. It would be wholly wrong for any court to dispense with a juvenile’s prima facie right to anonymity as an additional punishment. It is also very difficult to see any place for ‘naming and shaming’.”
He praised The Star’s anti-knife campaign, however, describing it as ‘impressive local journalism’.
“Given its laudable campaign against knife crime, I have every confidence that the Sheffield Star will also fully report this case even if the defendant is not named.
”Ultimately, the public interest in this case centres on knife crime, the prevalence of the carrying knives by young men and the awful consequences that too often follow.
“The media will be free to report all the details of this case, save for the name of the defendant.
“The additional element that might be supplied by publishing his name is not necessary in the interests of justice, and the order preventing him from being identified does not represent a substantial and unreasonable restriction on the reporting of the proceedings.”
The boy, now aged 16, was sentenced to two years, eight months for the manslaughter of Samuel Baker during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown today (Thursday, October 10.)
He admitted the offence at a hearing held last week.
Samuel Baker was stabbed twice to the chest with his own knife in an altercation with the boy that took place in Lowedges Road, Lowedges around 7.40pm on May 24 this year.
He died in hospital later that evening.
A post-mortem examination revealed he died from blood loss.